Thursday 9 May 2024

The Greek legacy ...

Image is from Aristarchus, the great Greek astronomer,
from a tenth-century CE copy of his manuscript

"Every civilisation of which we have records has possessed a technology, an art, a religion, a political system, laws, and so on. In many cases those facets of civilisation have been as developed as our own. But only the civilisations that descend from Hellenic Greece have possessed more than the most rudimentary science. The bulk of scientific knowledge is a product of Europe in the last four centuries.”
~ Thomas Kuhn, from his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions [hat tip Stephen Hicks]


Duncan Bayne said...

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants” - Newton

rivoniaboy said...

'If the insight of the Greeks had matched their ingenuity … we would not merely be puttering around on the Moon, we would have reached the nearer stars." '9 Sept 2017

arthur c. clarke

Peter Cresswell said...

@RivoniaBoy: Yes, there's truth in that. The Greeks were great at acquiring and integrating knowledge, but not so great at applying it.
That came later.
But as Duncan sagely suggests, "later" built on the knowledge those Greeks had acquired much earlier —and the West had finally rediscovered.

Tom Hunter said...

Funnily enough was just having a debate over at No Minister the other day when I cited historian Victor Davis Hanson's 2001 book Carnage and Culture to argue that Israel will eventually have to engage in decisive, shock battle with Iran to resolve the issue once and for all.

Which does not mean invading or occupying Iran, something Israel could not possibly do. But it does mean breaking Iranian military power, which would then hopefully lead to the destruction of the Mullah's regime.

But back on this topic: Hanson pushed the controversial theory that the rise of the West had much to do with not just various freedoms in civil, governing and private worlds, including free markets, but via those things being integrated into Western militaries, starting with Ancient Greece, leading to them waging war unlike anywhere else on the planet.