The United Nations has declared 2001 INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF DIALOGUE AMONG CIVILIZATIONS.
This site is dedicated to increasing awareness of the way modern science grew through the dialogue of civilizations, and the contribution dialogue can make to promoting the growth of science in the future.
Although the dominant view in the past has been that the historical roots of modern science only lie within Europe increasing evidence accumulated over the last fifty years reveals the need for a more dialogical approach to the history of science. Understanding the role played by civilizational dialogue in the growth of modern science would also enable us to take more seriously the emerging realization among many leading thinkers that premodern traditions of science contain reservoirs of knowledge urgently needed to deal with serious problems - like environmental and health concerns -that confront the global community.
This site was designed as a resource for a class at the National University of Singapore. The site brings together a sampling of materials dealing with the history and philosophy of science from a multicultural perspective. The author of the site writes that in many instances western and nonwestern thinkers had difficulty integrating the modernist heritage of science with earlier inherited traditions of knowledge. The information included in the site is not always complete, but browsers will likely find the most useful information by following the link to the section "Science and Civilizations." This section is subdivided by scientific field (i.e. astronomy, chemistry, physics, etc.). After selecting a field, the visitor can choose from a list of civilizations or cultures, each of which has a number of links to historical information and, in many cases, a short essay. The site would be most interesting to those hoping to compare various cultural philosophies of science.