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The Ancient Near East, Science, and Nature

The Ancient Near East, Science, and Nature

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction The Ancient Near East, Science, and Nature
Source:
Before Nature
Author(s):
Francesca Rochberg
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226406275.003.0001

This introductory chapter sets the stage for the investigation of the fundamental questions of the book. The first is the historical question, namely, if science is understood as the inquiry about nature and its phenomena, how do cuneiform texts relate to the larger framework of the history of science? A related philosophical question is: What kind of science is it that does not have nature as its conscious object of inquiry? And finally, from the point of view of the cultural values we attach to science and scientific knowledge, we might ask in what way can knowledge that is not consciously directed at nature be usefully counted as science?

Keywords:   cuneiform world, conceptions of nature, scribal learning, Akkadian

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