Time, Science, and Society in China and the West

By J. T. Fraser; N. Lawrence et al. | Go to book overview
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Part II
The Non-Chinese World


Through selected topics from non-Chinese thought and literature, this part addresses the intricate relationships that tie the notion and experience of time to social structures and to different modes of knowing.

Denis Corish seeks to identify, in the witness of Greek language and intellectual labor, the metamorphosis of the concrete experience of time into the abstract idea of time which came to infuse Western thought.

Francis C. Haber suggests that certain time-related value judgments, fostered by Christianity, entered into the promotion of early modern science and technology.

The increasing consciousness of time, tied to the idea of unlimited progress, came under attack after the English horological revolution, in the view of Samuel L. Macey. First represented by the literary-political struggles between the Ancients and the Moderns, a body of belief was born that saw in uncontrolled growth more social evil than virtue.

Anindita Niyogi Balslev maintains that the notion of cyclic time, perceived by Western scholars in Indian philosophy, is an unwarranted generalization from patterns of cosmic recurrence, present in Indian thought.

We learn from Ruth M. Stone that African music tends to emphasize qualitative notions of time as distinct from the linear, calculated progress exemplified by Western music.

With Jonathan Kramer we return to Europe, to examine European music in terms of the distinction between two conceptual extremes in the nature of musical time: linearity and nonlinearity.


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