2012年7月1日 星期日

李約瑟(Joseph Terence Montgomery Needham)


 何丙郁《學思歷程的回憶:科學、人文、李約瑟》


 2009.11.19
李約瑟(Joseph Terence Montgomery Needham,1900年12月9日1995年3月24日英國近代生物化學家科學技術史專家。所著《中國的科學與文明》(即《中國科學技術史》)對現代中西文化交流影響深遠。他關於中國科技停滯的李約瑟難題也引起各界關注和討論。

目錄

[隱藏]

[編輯] 生平

李約瑟生於倫敦一個有教養的中產階級蘇格蘭家庭,為獨子。父親是軍醫,母親是音樂教師和作曲家。早年在劍橋大學受教育(學士1921年、碩士1925年1月、博士1925年10月),然後從1924年聘為劍橋大學岡維爾與凱斯學院的教授(fellow),在弗雷德里克·霍普金斯實驗室工作,研究胚胎學形態發生
1937年,三個中國人來他的實驗室一起工作(魯桂珍王應睞沈詩章)。其中,魯桂珍(1904年1991年),一個南京藥劑師的女兒,金陵女子大學畢業生,和李約瑟發生了婚外戀,但這段戀情得到了李約瑟妻子的原諒。魯桂珍向李約瑟介紹中國悠久的科學發明醫藥學,給身處「西方中心論」環境中的李約瑟帶來很大的心靈震動,使他形成了「一個寶貴的信念,中國文明在科學技術史中曾起過從來沒被認識到的巨大作用」。從此之後,李約瑟對中國科學發生極大興趣,開始學習漢語,立志研究中國科學技術史。
英國皇家學會之命,李約瑟從1942年1946年在中國重慶中英科學合作館館長,他為戰時中國優秀科學家在西方科學雜誌發表研究成果作出了很大的努力,並結識了竺可楨傅斯年等中國科學家和學者,收集了大量的中國科學技術史文獻。此外他又遊歷了還沒有為日本佔領的地方,包括敦煌雲南,又參觀考察了中國各學術機構從而收集了大量文獻和資料。這對他後來寫《中國科學技術史》有極大幫助。
之後,他赴巴黎當上了聯合國教科文組織自然科學部的第一位部長,而且得到中國學者王鈴王玲)的幫助而開始寫《中國的科學與文明》。1948年,李約瑟回岡維爾與凱斯學院。儘管在1952年他因到中國查核細菌戰的證據而受到排擠和批評,但並沒有影響到他的寫作計劃。李約瑟從1967年至1976年擔任岡維爾與凱斯學院院長。退休後,以他個人藏書為基礎建立了東亞科學史圖書館。1987年,該館發展為李約瑟研究所1994年李約瑟當選為中國科學院外籍院士。
李約瑟首先娶李大斐(Dorothy Needham,娘家姓Moyle,1896年-1987年)。李大斐死後兩年,李約瑟再婚,娶魯桂珍。從1982年,他得了帕金森氏症1995年劍橋寓所辭世,享年95歲。骨灰安葬在研究所門前的菩提樹下。

[編輯] 貢獻

李氏改變了國際社會對中國只會農業藝術的觀感。他以受非正式漢學教育的外國學者的身份,突出中華傳統科技文化的豐富內涵並給予了充分的肯定。另外他對中國科技史的見解很獨到。他的工作亦打開了國際社會對中國科技史的研究和重視,使其成為重要的國際的學術,同時令中國學者對自己的科技史做更加深入廣泛的研究。但是由於其自身並未接受過正規的科學史教 育,研究中國科學史乃興趣所致(這一點可以從他夫人的話中得證:「魯桂珍曾坦言:李約瑟並不是一位職業漢學家,也不是一位歷史學家。他不曾受過學校的漢語 和科學史的正規教育。實際上他根本沒有正式學過科學史,只是在埋頭實驗工作之餘,順便涉獵而已。」),他的研究成果和結論後人必須以科學的態度正確對待。
同時亦因為李約瑟本是一位科學家,觀點亦是以科學的眼光來看中國的停滯不前。他的李約瑟難題正好證明了這點。一些學者以歷代的漢化和中央集權,來闡明「中國」文化思想上的高度一統性,欠缺多元化和競爭,從而使科技停滯。應注意是這些學者筆下的「中國」是指「漢族」生活區,而不包括自清朝起所包括的滿等少數民族的居住區。

[編輯] 李約瑟難題

主條目:李約瑟難題
李約瑟難題無疑是李氏研究中國科學技術史的中心論題。他提出了:儘管中國古代對人類科技發展做出了很多重要貢獻,但為什麼科學和工業革命沒有在近代的中國發生?他個人見解是中國長久沒有發展了,如腓尼基人和希臘人早期的城邦和現代城市,要為生存而互相競爭的環境。中國實現首次統一後(可能指的是的統一),他所謂的「封建官僚制度」的政府實行中央指導性政策。所謂「封建」是指中央集權,所謂「官僚」是指皇帝直接管理官員,地方行政只對朝廷負責。官僚思想深刻地滲透到整個中國人的複雜思想中。甚至在民間傳說中,也充滿了這種思想。科舉制度也鼓吹這種「封建官僚制度」。
這種制度產生了兩種效應。正面效應加上科舉制度的選拔,可以使中國非常有效地集中了大批聰明的、受過良好教育的人,他們的管理使得中國井然有序,並使中國發展了以整體理論,實用化研究方法的科技。比如中國古代天文學取得了很大成就,其數據至今仍有借鑒價值,再比如大運河的修建等。
但這種「封建官僚制度」的負面效應是,使得新觀念很難被社會接受,新技術開發領域幾乎沒有競爭。在中國,商業階級從未獲得歐洲商人所獲得的那種權利。中國有許多短語,如「重農輕商」等,和中國歷代的「重農抑商」政策表明了在那些年代的官僚政府的指導性政策。比如明朝末期的宋應星在參加科舉失敗後撰寫《天工開物》,但他認為不會有官員讀這本書。
在西方,發展了以還原論,公式化研究方法的科技。此種科技的興起與商業階級的興起相聯繫,鼓勵較強的技術開發競爭。在中國,反對此種科技的發展的阻力太大。 西方式的科技發展卻能衝破這些阻力,取得現在的成就。比如歐洲國家之間的競爭使得歐洲在中國火藥的基礎上發明並改良火藥武器。在這方面,自秦朝以後的中國不但比不上相同時期的歐洲,甚至比不上春秋戰國時期的中國。
另外他補充到:中國所處的地理環境也互相影響了政府的態度。中國獨有的水利問題(尤其是黃河)令中國人從很早的時候起就得去修建水利網。而且必須從整體集中資源治理,才能有希望解決水患問題。水利網超出了任何一個封建領主的領地,這就可以解釋為什麼在中國,封建主義讓位給中國官僚式的文明。
最後他做出結論:「如果中國人有歐美的具體環境,而不是處於一個廣大的、北面被沙漠切斷,西面是寒冷的雪山,南面是叢林,東面是寬廣的海洋的這樣一個地區,那情況將會完全不同。那將是中國人,而不是歐洲人發明科學技術和資本主義。歷史上偉大人物的名字將是中國人的名字,而不是伽利略牛頓哈維等人的名字。」李約瑟甚至說,如果那樣,將是歐洲人學習中國的象形文字,以便學習科學技術,而不是中國人學習西方的按字母順序排列的語言。
另外現任李約瑟研究所所長古克禮轉述了李約瑟臨終前的觀點:「李約瑟先生透過他多年來對中國以及中國人的了解,他確信中國能夠再度崛起,一個擁有如此偉大的文化的國家,一個擁有如此偉大的人民的國家,必將對世界文明再次做出偉大貢獻。」

[編輯] 參看

[編輯] 外部連結


Joseph Needham

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Joseph Needham
Born Noel Joseph Terence Montgomery Needham
6 December 1900 (1900-12-06)
London, England
Died 24 March 1995 (1995-03-25) (aged 94)
Cambridge, England
Alma mater Oundle School
Gonville and Caius College
Cambridge University
Occupation Historian
Spouse(s) Dorothy Moyle Needham (m. 1924–1987) «start: (1924)–end+1: (1988)»"Marriage: Dorothy Moyle Needham to Joseph Needham" Location:United Kingdom (linkback:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Needham)
Lu Gwei-Djen (m. 1989–1991) «start: (1989)–end+1: (1992)»"Marriage: Lu Gwei-Djen to Joseph Needham" Location:United Kingdom (linkback:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Needham)
Noel Joseph Terence Montgomery Needham, CH, FRS, FBA (9 December 1900 – 24 March 1995), also known as Li Yuese (simplified Chinese: 李约瑟; traditional Chinese: 李約瑟; pinyin: Lǐ Yuēsè: Wade-Giles: Li Yüeh-Sê), was a British academic and sinologist known for his research and writing on the history of Chinese science. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1941;[1] and he was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1971.[2] In 1992, the Queen conferred on him the Companionship of Honour and the Royal Society noted he was the only living person to hold these three titles.[3]

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Biography

[edit] Early years

Needham was the only child of a London family: his father was a Scottish doctor and his mother, Alicia Adelaïde Montgomery (1863–1945) was a French-Irish composer and music teacher. Needham was educated at Oundle School, before receiving his bachelor's degree in 1921 from Cambridge University, master's degree in January 1925 and doctorate in October 1925. After graduation, he worked in F.G. Hopkins's laboratory at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, specialising in embryology and morphogenesis. Although his career as biochemist and an academic was well established, his career developed in unanticipated directions during and after World War II.

[edit] Career

Three Chinese scientists came to work with Needham in 1936: Lu Gwei-djen (traditional Chinese: 鲁桂珍; pinyin: Lu Gui-zhen), Wang Ying-lai (王應睞), and Chen Shi-zhang (沈詩章). Lu (1904–91), daughter of a Nanjingese pharmacist, taught Needham Classical Chinese. This ignited Needham's interest in China's technological and scientific past.
Under the Royal Society's direction, Needham was the director of the Sino-British Science Co-operation Office in Chongqing from 1942 to 1946. Needham collaborated with the historian Wang Ling (王玲), who solidified Needham's passion for Chinese scientific history.
Needham wrote his first book on the history of Chinese technology in 1945, titled Chinese Science. He also met numerous Chinese scholars, including the painter Wu Zuo ren (吳作人), and travelled to sites in western China, including Dunhuang and Yunnan. He also visited educational institutions, from which large amounts of references and materials were collected, which would aid his editing of Science and Civilisation in China Series.
After two years' tenure as the first head of the Natural Science division at UNESCO in Paris, France — indeed, it was Needham who insisted that Science should be included in the organisation's mandate — he returned to Gonville and Caius College in 1948, when Cambridge University Press partially funded his Science and Civilisation in China series. He devoted much energy to the history of Chinese science until his retirement in 1990, even though he continued to teach biochemistry until 1966.
In 1965, with Derek Bryan, a retired diplomat, Needham established the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding, which for some years provided the only way for the British to visit the People's Republic of China.

[edit] Science and Civilisation in China

In 1943, Needham with an international team of collaborators, started a project to study the science and civilisation of ancient China. This project produced a series of volumes titled Science and Civilisation in China (SCC) published by the Cambridge University Press. The project is now proceeding under the guidance of the Publications Board of the Needham Research Institute, chaired by Christopher Cullen.[4]
The massive project produced a series of volumes under Needham's direct supervision; and the regular production of further volumes continued after his death in 1995. Successive volumes have been published as they became ready, which means that they have not appeared in the order originally contemplated in the project's prospectus—see Needham's SCC organizating scheme:

[edit] Evaluations and critiques

"Needham's Grand Question", also known as "The Needham Question", is why China had been overtaken by the West in science and technology, despite its earlier successes. His works attribute significant weight to the impact of Confucianism and Taoism on the pace of Chinese scientific discovery, and emphasizes what it describes as the 'diffusionist' approach of Chinese science as opposed to a perceived independent inventiveness in the western world.
Needham's work has been criticized by some scholars for its strong inclination to exaggerate Chinese technological achievements and its propensity to prove a Chinese origin for the wide range of objects his work covered.[5] Nathan Sivin, one of Needham's collaborators, while agreeing that Needham's achievement was monumental, suggested that the "Needham question," as a counterfactual hypothesis, was not susceptible of a useful answer: "It is striking that this question – Why didn't the Chinese beat Europeans to the Scientific Revolution? – happens to be one of the few questions that people often ask in public places about why something didn't happen in history. It is analogous to the question of why your name did not appear on page 3 of today's newspaper." [6] Sivin's criticism can arguably be rejected as ruling out all discussion of causes in history, on the basis that the cause of every historical event is that if it hadn't occurred that would be counterfactual, and thus supposedly not susceptible of a useful answer.

Needham's accusations against Confucianism and Taoism can arguably be seen as simply reflecting early Chinese Communist hostility to these rival thought systems[7][8][9]. A common (though disputed) alternative answer [10] to the Needham Question is that China had no equivalent of the alphabet. Among other alleged consequences, it could not gain the full benefits of movable type printing. Among other disadvantages (such as allegedly making it harder for people to learn to read and write [11]), complete type-sets were very expensive. For instance, in 1725, the Qing Dynasty government had to make 250,000 bronze movable type characters to print 64 sets of the encyclopedic Gujin Tushu Jicheng Complete Collection of Illustrations and Writings from the Earliest to Current Times 《古今图书集成》/《古今圖書集成》[12]. The Needham question then arguably must be re-phrased to ask why the distant West was able to beat every other civilisation with an alphabet (such as Islam's Arabic alphabet), or with other small character sets (such as the 247 characters used in the Tamil script), bearing in mind that proximity to China usually meant that these civilisations tended to get developments such as block printing before the West[13].

Needham's political views were unorthodox and his lifestyle controversial. His work in science was based in an idiosyncratic form of Christian socialism and after 1949 his sympathy with Chinese culture was extended to the new government. Needham agreed to be an inspector in North Korea (1952-53) during the Korean War and in his report he supported the controversial Chinese communist claims that the Americans had used biological warfare there. Needham's biographer Simon Winchester comments that "Needham was intellectually in love with communism; and yet communist spymasters and agents, it turned out, had pitilessly duped him".[14] Winchester also notes that because of his assertions Needham was blacklisted by the U.S. government until well into the 1970s.

[edit] Personal life

Needham was first married to Dorothy Moyle (1896–1987). Simon Winchester notes that, in his younger days, Needham was an avid gymnosophist.[15] In 1989, two years after Dorothy's death, Needham married Lu Gwei-djen (1904-1991). He suffered from Parkinson's disease from 1982, and died at the age of 94 at his Cambridge home. In 2008 the Chair of Chinese in the University of Cambridge was endowed in honour of Joseph Needham as the Joseph Needham Professorship of Chinese History, Science, and Civilization.[16]

[edit] Honours and awards

In 1961, Needham was awarded the George Sarton Medal by the History of Science Society and in 1966 he became Master of Gonville and Caius College. In 1984, Needham became the fourth recipient of the J.D. Bernal Award, awarded by the Society for Social Studies of Science. In 1990, he was awarded the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize by Fukuoka City.
The Needham Research Institute, devoted to the study of China's scientific history, was opened in 1985 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

[edit] Bibliography

  • Science, Religion and Reality (1925)
  • Chemical Embryology (1931)
  • The Great Amphibium: Four Lectures on the Position of Religion in a World Dominated by Science (1931)
  • Perspectives in Biochemistry: Thirty-One Essays Presented to Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins by Past and Present Members of His Laboratory (1937)
  • Time: The Refreshing River (Essays and Addresses, 1932-1942) (1943)
  • Chinese Science (1945)
  • History Is On Our Side (1947)
  • Science Outpost; Papers of the Sino-British Science Co-Operation Office (British Council Scientific Office in China) 1942-1946 (1948)
  • Science and Civilisation in China (1954, etc) - 25 volumes to date
  • Science and Civilization in China, by Joseph Needham, with the research assistance [and collaboration] of Wang Ling (1954-59) (2 volumes)
  • A History of Embryology (1959)
  • The Grand Titration: Science and Society in East and West (1969)
  • Within the Four Seas: The Dialogue of East and West (1969)
  • Clerks and Craftsmen in China and the West: Lectures and Addresses on the History of Science and Technology (1970)
  • Chinese Science: Explorations of an Ancient Tradition (1973)
  • Moulds of Understanding: A Pattern of Natural Philosophy (1976)
  • The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China (3 volumes) (1978) - an abridgement of the 1954- version.
  • Science in Traditional China : A Comparative Perspective (1982)
  • The Genius of China (1986)
  • Heavenly Clockwork : The Great Astronomical Clocks of Medieval China (1986)
  • The Hall of Heavenly Records : Korean Astronomical Instruments and Clocks, 1380-1780 (1986)

[edit] Science and Civilisation in China volumes

Date ↓ Title ↓ Vol./
Part ↓
Editor/
Contributors ↓
Notes ↓
1954 Introductory Orientations 1 Joseph Needham,
Wang Ling (research assistant)
>
1956 History of Scientific Thought 2 Joseph Needham,
Wang Ling (research assistant)
OCLC
1959 Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and Earth 3 Joseph Needham,
Wang Ling (research assistant)
OCLC
1962 Physics 4/01 Joseph Needham,
Wang Ling (research assistant),
Kenneth Robinson
OCLC
1965 Mechanical Engineering 4/02 Joseph Needham,
Wang Ling
>
1971 Civil Engineering and Nautics 4/03 Joseph Needham,
Wang Ling,
Lu Gwei-djen
>
1974 Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Magisteries of Gold and Immortality 5/02 Joseph Needham,
Lu Gwei-djen
>
1976 Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Historical Survey, from Cinnabar Elixirs to Synthetic Insulin 5/03 Joseph Needham,
Ho Ping-Yu [Ho Peng-Yoke],
Lu Gwei-djen
>
1980 Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Apparatus and Theory 5/04 Joseph Needham,
Lu Gwei-djen,
Nathan Sivin
>
1983 Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Physiological Alchemy 5/05 Joseph Needham,
Lu Gwei-djen
>
1984 Agriculture 6/02 Francesca Bray >
1985 Paper and Printing 5/01 Tsien Tsuen-Hsuin >
1986 Textile Technology: Spinning and Reeling 5/09 Dieter Kuhn >
1986 Botany 6/01 Joseph Needham,
Lu Gwei-djen,
Huang Hsing-Tsung
>
1987 Military Technology: The Gunpowder Epic 5/07 Joseph Needham,
Ho Ping-Yu [Ho Peng-Yoke],
Lu Gwei-djen,
Wang Ling
>
1994 Military Technology: Missiles and Sieges 5/06 Joseph Needham,
Robin D.S. Yates,
Krzysztof Gawlikowski,
Edward McEwen,
Wang Ling

1996 Agroindustries and Forestry 6/03 Christian A. Daniels,
Nicholas K. Menzies
>
1998 Language and Logic 7/01 Christoph Harbsmeier >
1999 Mining 5/13 Peter Golas >
2000 Fermentations and Food Science 6/05 Huang Hsing-Tsung >
2000 Medicine 6/06 Joseph Needham,
Lu Gwei-djen,
(edited by Nathan Sivin)
>
2004 Ceramic Technology 5/12 Rose Kerr,
Nigel Wood,
Ts'ai Mei-fen,
Zhang Fukang
>
2004 General Conclusions and Reflections 7/02 Joseph Needham,
(edited by Kenneth Girdwood Robinson),
contributions by Ray Huang,
introduction by Mark Elvin
OCLC
2008 Ferrous Metallurgy 5/11 Donald B. Wagner >
2__? Work in progress 5/08 Volume editor/contributors unknown >
2__? Work in progress 5/10 Volume editor/contributors unknown >
2__? Work in progress 6/04 Volume editor/contributors unknown >

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b Winchester, Simon. (2008). The Man Who Loved China, pp. 28-29.
  2. ^ a b Winchester, p. 238.
  3. ^ a b Winchester, p. 250.
  4. ^ "Science and Civilisation in China". Needham Research Institute. http://www.nri.org.uk/science.html. Retrieved 2008-07-09.
  5. ^ Pierre-Yves Manguin: “Trading Ships of the South China Sea. Shipbuilding Techniques and Their Role in the History of the Development of Asian Trade Networks”, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 36, No. 3. (1993), pp. 253-280 (268, Fn.26; Robert Finlay, "China, the West, and World History in Joseph Needham's Science and Civilisation in China," Journal of World History 11 (Fall 2000): 265-303.
  6. ^ Why the Scientific Revolution Did Not Take Place in China – Or Didn't It?" in Nathan Sivin, Science in Ancient China (Aldershot, Hants: Variorum, 1995), chapter VII)
  7. ^ "Beijing embraces Confucian communism". Asia Times Online. http://www.atimes.com/china/AI15Ad01.html. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  8. ^ see Confucius
  9. ^ see History of Taoism
  10. ^ "Dispelling the Alphabet Effect". Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol 29, No 2 (2004). http://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/viewArticle/1432/1540. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  11. ^ "The superiority of the Latin alphabet". everything2. http://everything2.com/title/The+superiority+of+the+Latin+alphabet. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  12. ^ see Movable type
  13. ^ see History of Printing
  14. ^ The Man Who Loved China, p. 212.
  15. ^ Winchester, Simon. "Bomb, Book, and Compass" p.23.
  16. ^ Sterckx, Roel, In the Fields of Shennong: An inaugural lecture delivered before the University of Cambridge on 30 September 2008 to mark the establishment of the Joseph Needham Professorship of Chinese History, Science and Civilization. Cambridge: Needham Research Institute, 2008 (ISBN 0-9546771-1-0).

[edit] References

[edit] External links

[edit] English

[edit] Chinese

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