By Ziauddin Sardar
Assesses the function of technological know-how within the improvement of Islamic and Western civilisations, in bringing to them additional traditional niches. query: What occurred to ethical values within the approach.
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Extra resources for The Touch of Midas: Science, Values and Environment in Islam and the West
To date, the controversy in this area has been limited to a purely quantitative dispute. At one extreme many historians of science have all but ignored the contribution of Muslim scientists to the development of the discipline; Dampier and Bernal on two political extremes both fall to greater or lesser extents in this camp. ' This was partly redressed by 31 George Sarton's An Introduction to the History of Science' which set out in great detail the achievements of the Muslim scientists in foreseeing and anticipating elements and theories of Western science, and forms the other end of the spectrum.
To reclaim the possibility of an Islamic science that is more than what Muslims discover qua Western scientists operating within the framework of values and concerns of the West, it is important to explain how this myth arose and how it became universally accepted. For unless this can be done, and the lessons of recent philosophical advances accepted, the same intellectual straitjacket will prevent any rebirth within the era of late capitalism. This myth and its acceptance had behind it a combination of economic, political and even technical causes.
These originally emanated from two individuals, Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn. ' For no number; however large, of confirming instances supporting a proposition can prove that the next will not confound all those that went before. This threatened to undermine the notion of science as a rational enterprise, and was already being exploited by unfalsifiable pseudosciences such as Marxism and psychoanalysis that were claiming the legitimacy of sciences of themselves and were capable of assimilating any and all events as yet further confirmations of their veracity.