Geoffrey E. R. Lloyd

Connaissance et culture
Science grecque et science chinoise

XVIIIe Conférence Marc-Bloch, juin 1996Allocution du président

Conférence publiée in : Annales. Histoire, Sciences sociales, 51 (6), 1996, p. 1185-1200 ; archive numérique (fermée) sur Persée.


Cognition and culture. The comparative study of Greek and Chinese sciences. – This paper addresses three interrelated questions. Are there important differences in the ways in which such inquiries as astronomy, mathematics and medicine developed in ancient Greece and China? If so, can we say why? Third, what can be learnt from such a study about more general issues to do with the relations between culture and cognition? The study argues that the first question should be answered yes, and that some of the principal differences we uncover—for example in the notions of proof—relate to the social and political institutions of scientific inquiries themselves. Accordingly the study of the development of science in ancient societies demands different models from those assumed to be applicable to the investigation of cognitive development in children.

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales