Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

Protestant Culture and Confucian Culture as Spiritual Resources: the Institutionalization of Modern Science and the Surmountng of Scientism

FANG Min, Assoicate Professor, Sciology Department, Nankai University



This essay takes the institutionalization of modern science and the surmounting of scientism as a case study from which to draw out three observations. Firstly, this essay compares the roles Protestant and Confucian cultures played in the emergence of modern science in their respective contexts, revealing the core values of the Protestant spirit in the “Merton Proposition”, and providing an analysis of the “Needham Puzzle” from a religious perspective. The author proposes that the deficiency of spiritual dynamics on a religious level is one of the main causes for the absence or failure of modern science in China. Secondly, this essay compares the different functions that Protestantism and Confucianism fulfilled within their respective cultures in overcoming the drawbacks of scientism, and the author discovers that Protestantism played a more powerful role than Confucianism in this regard. Finally, based on the previous observations, the essay explains the different cultural traits of Protestantism and Confucianism in the process of the institutionalization of modern science and the effort to exceed scientism.



Protestantism; Confucianism; Needham Puzzle; Scientism; culture trait


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