Science as normative

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Science as normative
« on: June 01, 2021, 02:49:58 PM »
In a nutshell, education in China is normative. Knowledge is not something you discover by yourself, it is delivered to you by an authority. Students are not taught to question or create because in normative terms, they cannot. Students aren't authorities. Knowledge is delivered to them and their task is not to determine how any of this works, but rather to internalize what they have received. If they memorize enough, then they are educated. They have the knowledge. Unfortunately, it is common in China to call for scientific education, scientific development, scientific whatever. They don't mean do science, they mean follow science. And by science they mean whatever "rational" thing the authority has worked out for you to memorise.

You know "China is a developing country" - or the modern iteration, "understand China's development stage"? China is a self-directing country struggling with global norms it doesn't like. "Science", for example. Or more exactly, Empiricism. Science is fine, empiricism is not.


Such a lot about China appears to become understandable if we just say, in China, judgment is normative. You don't make judgments based on evidence, you make them according to norms. And your norms are supplied by whoever or whatever is the authority.

What becomes really tricky though is... what is a normative authority?