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G. Saliba et G. Saliba

« Seeking the origins of Modern Science ? ». Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies. 1, 2 (1999), pp. 139-152.« Flying Goats and Other Obsessions: A Response to Toby Huff’s ‘Reply’ ». Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies. 4, 2 (2002), pp. 129-141.

Compte-rendu réalisé par Sonja Brentjes

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Auteurs mentionnés :

T. E. Huff
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1Both papers by G. Saliba deal with ideas and convictions of Toby Huff concerning the origin(s) of ‘modern’ science in (western) Europe and their lack of emergence in the Islamic world. The first paper is Saliba’s review of the Huff’s book (T. E. Huff, The Rise of Early Modern Science. Islam, China and the West, Cambridge UP [1993] 1999, 409 p.) and the second is Saliba’s reply to Huff’s comments on Saliba’s review. Saliba criticizes historians of science who identify « modern » science as the product of ‘western’ culture as methodologically superficial, historically unsound and, – at times – politically hegemonic. In the review, Saliba’s first major concern is to challenge the simple equation « modern science = western culture ». He does this by pointing time and again to scientific achievements of scholars from Islamic societies and their use by ‘western’ scholars creating ‘modern’ science. His second major concern is to argue for his conviction that attaching cultural qualifiers to ‘science’ does not yield ‘useful analytical categories’ (cf. second paper, p. 129). In this second paper, Saliba takes up the four domains characterized by Huff as problematic with regard to science in the Islamic world : 1. What constitutes ‘modern’ science ; 2. The role of economic factors ; 3. The timing of the decline of science in the Islamic world ; 4. The role of institutions with a specific legal structure and of ‘free’ inquiry. Saliba determines the conquest of the New World as the major simple factor for the rise of ‘modern’ science in western Europe, points to the beneficial results that active patronage by courts and rulers in the Islamic world had for the production of new scientific results, and refutes Huff’s belief that the specific legal structure of western universities generated ‘free’ inquiry and that ‘free’ inquiry is a necessary condition for the emergence of ‘modern’ science. The claims and arguments are both more nuanced and more polemical than can be easily summarized here. [Ce compte rendu concerne également le n° 275]

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Sonja Brentjes. G. Saliba et G. Saliba, « « Seeking the origins of Modern Science ? ». Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies. 1, 2 (1999), pp. 139-152.« Flying Goats and Other Obsessions: A Response to Toby Huff’s ‘Reply’ ». Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies. 4, 2 (2002), pp. 129-141. », Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 25 | 2004, document 274, mis en ligne le 15 mars 2006, consulté le 16 juin 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/abstractairanica/5001

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