Contexts and constructions of Ottoman science with special reference to astronomy
Küçük, Harun Bekir (2005) Contexts and constructions of Ottoman science with special reference to astronomy. [Thesis]
The two approaches that restrict, and perhaps even hinder, the study of the history of science in the Ottoman context are as follows: 1) Ottoman Science is expected to be progressive and even modern; 2) Ottoman Science is considered a continuation of Arabic science. This thesis claims that both approaches are unlikely to bear any fruit, or to display the more pertinent and interesting aspects of Ottoman science. The first approach restricts the study of the history of science in the Ottoman context because Ottoman science shows little progress across the centuries; because much of that progress has been borrowed, transferred or appropriated, from modern Europe, and because "progress" itself, beyond perfecting and correcting prevalent scientific theories, does not seem to be an ideal of science as practised in the Ottoman Empire; and because early modern science itself was not unambiguously progressive. The second approach is restrictive because it overlooks the fact that the majority of Greek and Arabic science was incorporated into both European and Ottoman learning, and the Ottomans for the most part, were not exclusive heirs to Arab learning. Moreover, when one speaks of the Ottomans, one does not necessarily speak of Turks and Arabs, but also of Greeks, Jews, South-east Europeans, emigrés from very different ethnic and religious backgrounds as well as many others. The first chapter will try to define 'ilm, the Arabic word most Ottomans who spoke Turkish or Arabic used to connote learning and science, and distinguish it from modern science as we know it today. The second chapter will treat Greek learning before and during Ottoman domination and will try to highlight the role Ottoman Greeks have played in the Ottoman intellectual and scientific scene. The third and fourth chapters will evaluate from a comparative perspective the history of Ottoman and European astronomy in early modernity. This chapter seeks to show the similarities between the study of astronomy in the two scientific ecumenes. The fifth and last chapter is a critical overview of the the historiography of Ottoman Science.
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