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A Bridge between China and the Rest of the World


RAS values discussion series: Science and Truth

RAS values discussion series: 
Science and Truth

Science and philosophy, despite living separate lives, constantly intersect and our discussion will offer a unique such intersection. The question our distinguished panel will consider is an old one: is science an independent source of values, or must this source be found somewhere else?

Our panel:

  • 饶毅 (Rao Yi), Professor of Neurosciences, Peking University (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rao_Yi)
  • 张首晟 (Zhang Shoucheng), Professor of Astrophysics, Stanford University (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoucheng_Zhang)
  • Richard de Grijs, Professor of Astrophysics, Peking University (http://astro-expat.info/)

John Pomfret, Beijing-resident author and chronicler of contemporary China, will host and moderate the panel.

The panel discussion will be in English.

When: Tuesday 13 May 7pm

Where: The Shijia Hutong Museum (see map below)
Shijia Hutong No. 24, Dongcheng District

Admission: 30RMB; 60RMB (non-members) 


More information:

Science is one of the key values of contemporary society. As the work of Joseph Needham shows us, China made immense contributions to world science, often undervalued in China itself. This was because other sources of truth—the classics, the human heart-mind, the dao, history… seemed of greater import, indeed the source of science’s own importance.

Early last century the New Culture Movement set out to change this. It spoke of ‘Mr Science’ and ‘Mr Democracy’ as new sources of national strength. A century later Chinese science, education, research and development is recognised as outstanding.

However the old questions return. Can science answer issues of meaning, morality and national destiny? How does science contribute to other values today?

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