A striking quotation from Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions:
“Every civilization of which we have records has possessed a technology, an art, a religion, a political system, laws, and so on. In many cases those facets of civilization have been as developed as our own. But only the civilizations that descend from Hellenic Greece have possessed more than the most rudimentary science. The bulk of scientific knowledge is a product of Europe in the last four centuries.” (2nd edition, pp. 167-168)
Two follow up questions:
Is Kuhn right?
If so, what about classical Greek culture enabled this great influence?
(The image is from Aristarchus, one of the great Greek astronomers, from a tenth-century CE copy of his manuscript.)
(Just for the record: I think Kuhn’s book is often good as cultural anthropology but very bad as philosophy.)