The Ambitions of Curiosity: Understanding the World in Ancient Greece and China by G. E. R. Lloyd (University of Cambridge)
In The Ambitions of Curiosity, first published in 2002, one of the world's foremost philosophers of science explores the origins and growth of systematic inquiry in Greece, China, and Mesopotamia. Professor Lloyd examines which factors stimulated or inhibited this development, and whose interests were served. He asks who set the agenda? What was the role of the state in sponsoring, supporting or blocking research, in such areas as historiography, natural philosophy, medical research, astronomy, technology, pure and applied mathematics? How were each of those fields defined and developed in different ancient societies? How did truly innovative thinkers persuade their own contemporaries to accept their work? Professor Lloyd explores the different routes those developments took in China, Greece and Mesopotamia, and demonstrates the unexpected results of many research efforts, as well as the tensions between state control and individual innovation and the different ways they were resolved - problems that remain central to scientific research today.