From Paul Feyerabend’s The Tyranny of Science (pg.76). To me Feyerabend often feels pretty careless and free-wheeling in his treatment of early Greek thinkers and theories – in his ability as an heir of the western intellectual tradition to comment on his forerunners as though he understood them, their culture, and their concepts in full – so it’s half amusing, half telling of this bias that it’s only in approaching non-western culture that he ever feels the need to concede his limitations.
Not all early thinkers belonged to the Xenophanes-Parmenides category. In China scientists used a multiple approach corresponding to the many different regions of nature and the variety of her products. There was a unity – but it was a loose connection between events, not an underlying essence. This view was more practical than its western alternative and indeed, Chinese technology, medicine included, was for a long time far ahead of the West. I say ‘it was far ahead of the West’ as if I knew. Well, I don’t know. I don’t know Chinese. I haven’t seen the relevant evidence. I only read a few books, some volumes of Needham’s monstrous work on Chinese science included, and this is what they say.