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China: Philosophers sparked good science

Peng Gong misrepresents the thoughts of Chinese philosophers Confucius and Zhuang Zhou by suggesting that they hinder scientific advancement in modern China (Nature 481, 411; 2012).

Confucius encouraged curiosity and practice in teaching and learning. His thoughts are universal and timeless, and have influenced many other Asian countries — including Japan, where sound science thrives.

Zhuang advocated harmony so that we could fulfil our essential connection with nature. This view is pertinent in today's China, where the environment and human health are being damaged by explosive and unbalanced development.

Moreover, Confucius, Zhuang and other ancient Chinese philosophers made significant advances in science, technology, medicine, mathematics, astronomy and architecture, with inventions such as paper and the compass having a large impact on civilization.

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Correspondence to Jianxin Su.

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Su, J., Lu, C. China: Philosophers sparked good science. Nature 483, 407 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/483407c

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