An Answer to the Needham Question

Joseph Needham (Credit: Semantic Scholar)

What drove the development of modern science?

“The condition for the development of science is democracy.” is a commonplace answer most people would probably think of.

Harnessing science and technology to becoming superpowers

From Napoleon to the two world wars, arms race, and science and technology were the western powers’ national priorities, as their leaders knew claiming the high ground of the latter would shape their destiny in becoming GREAT powers.

École Polytechnique (Credit: École Polytechnique)

Conclusion

All in all the desire to dominate the world economically and politically was the overarching reason for why modern science developed in Europe, instead of China. The influence of other factors such as differences in philosophy was less pronounced.

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