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Being, Humanity, and Understanding$
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G. E. R. Lloyd

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654727

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654727.001.0001

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Ancient understandings reassessed and the consequences for ontologies

Ancient understandings reassessed and the consequences for ontologies

(p.46) 3 Ancient understandings reassessed and the consequences for ontologies
Being, Humanity, and Understanding

G. E. R. Lloyd

Oxford University Press

A number of recent developments in the history of ancient science have led to the need to revise some still common assumptions concerning the uniformity of the trajectory of scientific development once it began in different ancient civilizations. Detailed study of those civilizations—Mesopotamia, China, and Greece especially—reveals the widely differing aims, ambitions, and methods of those who engaged in systematic attempts to observe, describe, predict and explain the phenomena. This chapter focuses especially on a group of problems that is by no means confined to ancient societies, namely the extent to which, and the circumstances in which, traditional beliefs are open to challenge whether by individuals or by whole groups, and the factors that stimulated or inhibited such challenges.

Keywords:   origins of science, Mesopotamia, China, Greece, traditional beliefs, challengeability

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