Global Engineering and Sustainability- The growing importance of India and China, Part 3
Gladstone4 states that prior to 1700, all major civilizations drew on four basic sources to justify knowledge and authority. These were:
1. Tradition – knowledge that was revered for its age and long use
2. Religion or revelation – knowledge that was based on sacred texts or the sayings of prophets, saints, other spiritual leaders
3. Reason – knowledge that was obtained from logical demonstration, either in arithmetic and geometry or by deductive reasoning from basic premises
4. Repeated observation and experience – empirical knowledge that was confirmed by widely shared and repeated observations and every day experience, such as day follows night, the sun rises in the East, objects fall, heat rises, and various agricultural and manufacturing techniques that were proven in use.
By turning away from the first and second major sources of knowledge and authority – tradition and religion – Gladstone says European thinkers sought new systems of knowledge. These were based mainly on revised and expanded forms of logical reasoning, using new foundational assumptions, or more sophisticated mathematics, or inductive rather than deductive logic; and on new approaches to observation and experience, more reliant on increasingly sophisticated and specialized instruments for making observations as opposed to common‐sense, unaided empiricism.
Gurmeet Bambrah, PhD
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