SCIENTIFIC HISTORY IN PRE-MODERN CIVILIZATIONS
A Critical Review
Keywords:Scientific history, Pre-modern civilizations, Islamic science
The main arguments in this article pertain to the plurality of approaches in the study of nature in different human civilisations. In the popular Western narrative on scientific history, Greek science is presented as the first rational and empirically-established science in the world. Pre-Greek sciences were not rational in the modern sense but clothed in mythical language. This article discusses the preservation of knowledge of man and the universe in creation myths in the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Egyptian civilisations which existed before the Greek civilisations. The article also discusses the unique character of Islamic science. Like Greek and modern science, Islamic science possesses a rational and empirical character. But unlike them, Islamic science is also symbolic and spiritual in
character. In other words, Islamic science is religious in nature except that it is free of the kind mythical language that characterises the pre-Greek sciences. The uniqueness of Islamic science is the unity of its rational and symbolic dimensions.