Reflections on the Century-Old?Debate of Science and Metaphysics

Reflections on the Century-Old?Debate of Science and Metaphysics


出版:Trajectory.Inc / Journal of Zhejiang University (Humanities and Social Scienc
作者:Sheng Xiaoming




The?Debate of Science and Metaphysics?is a brilliant episode in the New Culture Movement.Chinese people had comprehensively investigated the nature of science and its social function for the first time since the Constitutional Reform and Modernization.The?metaphysics? camp represented by Liang Qichao and Zhang Junmai,launched fierce debates with the?science?camp represented by Chen Duxiu and Hu Shi based on Chinese people's awareness of science at that time.In Hu Shi's words,this is a?gift on the first meeting?when science first came into China.A century has passed since this debate,and the society generating the views of these two sides no longer exists,but similar debates recur in different forms at home and abroad,such as the?Two Cultures?and the?Science Wars.?In these debates,scientists and their agents find different?others?,trying to establish their own dominance in their societies by debating.This requires us to reflect seriously on what has caused people's different views on science in the first place.Many scholars have made profound criticisms on the modernity since the Enlightenment. First,the logic of Enlightenment did not coordinate the two conflicting values well.As Kant said, in fact we lived in different worlds, dominated by two different laws. Second, Enlightenment lacked basic historical awareness,i.e.,as Kuhn said,accepting happenings in a given period of history as an eternal truth. One century later,we are no cleverer than our predecessors in dealing with the relationship between science and traditional culture,but at least we have witnessed the development of science,as well as its evolution from?sanctification?to?secularization.?The so-called?secularization?refers to that science is no longer guided by sanctified goals,but is driven by secular?innovation?goals.In the new forms such as?Big Science?and?Industrial Science?,science carries technological means,and penetrates into every aspect of people's lives to an unimaginable extent.Even though science still produces new value conflicts,the controversy between realism and instrumentalism will reappear in other forms.We will certainly not be caught up in the dilemma of our predecessors in the New Culture Movement of whether to choose science or tradition,because science has already been integrated into our cultural tradition.


Department of Philosophy, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310028, China

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