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Western Scientific Paradigm

13 Mar 2017Other Essays

The western scientific paradigm is widely influencing the world through the different fields of disciplines such education, arts, medicine, and culture. It is grounded upon a dominant worldview that is representative of western ideas and perceptions. Basically it is characterized by analytic and scientific based inquiries that are geared to be predictable and controllable. Its influence is wide enough to be considered as the standard for success and applicability in different fields of disciplines But because of its dominance, concerns about it being one sided is also evident. In the word of Rothstein (2001), “Western science is hardly neutral and objective. Instead it is full of unexamined prejudices and preferences and presumptions.”

To define what is a western scientific paradigm is unclear apart from its “philosophical, including both cosmological issues and epistemological questions; sociological; and technological” dimensions.
Indigenous groups from non-western cultures have expressed their sentiments and concerns about the imposing nature of the western scientific approach because of the misunderstandings and gaps it created among people of diverse cultures. Along the way, the application has led to the denial of other worldviews by being critical and partial. Jamison (1994) explicitly said, “Part of the problem with the critiques of Western science is that they have been partial critiques and have failed to provide what might be considered workable alternatives to the totality of Western science. The alternatives, like the critiques, have all too often been too narrowly focused to be effective.”

Science in the Western perspective is often experimental in practice, through the use of technical instruments and other experimental apparatus. From the emergence of Scientific Revolution down through the history to the present Global era, western scientific norms and applications still take the lead in transforming science into an industrial and technological application.Historically, the influence of the Western scientific paradigm among the Latin Americans is wide in scope, owing to the fact that Western cultures have a great influence on this people on its the discovery and colonization in the 14th century. Citing Rouquie, Leon and Sonntag mentioned that Latin America and Caribbean are said to be part of the West, though they have been called the Extreme Occident; they further explained that its societies are, in the view of Clash of Civilizations, bearers of a culture of their own, which gives them a “distinct identity that distinguishes them from the West.” Latin Americans are characterized as hybrid, originating from different cultures with the strong influence of the Western (European, and Spanish), Portuguese and African cultures through the black slavery.

An indigenous approach needs to be practiced that is expressive of one’s origin, culture and worldview. Though it is open to prevalent scientific and technological perspective, it has its own way of discovering new concepts of knowledge that is localized in perspective and practice. Lalor (2005), proposed an ubuntu concept (African concept), a principle based on respect, dignity, compassion and mutual support, should underpin and inform efforts to leverage our greatest national asset - the diversity of our people. Lalor said, “It is this human wealth that can provide the dynamism, creative energy and innovative ways of thinking and problem-solving required to successfully compete in an increasingly complex and multi-cultural local and global business context. And the fundamental notion of ubuntu is that our individual humanity is ideally expressed through our relationship with others – will be a powerful driver for transformation and growth: economic, social and spiritual.”

References

  • Jamison, Andrew, (1994). “The uncertain quest: science, technology, and development,” The United Nations University, Tokyo.
  • Rothstein, Edward, (2005). Coming to Blows Over How Valid Science Really Is, New York Times, New York, 2001
  • Lalor & Young, (2005). Alternative to the Western paradigm solution to growth and unemployment challenges.” 
  • Leon, Roberto B, & Sonntag, Heinz R. (2000). “Social Science and Latin America, Promises to Keep. Journal of World-Systems Research VI. 798-810

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