One of the major fallacies of Western civilization, according to Alfred North Whitehead,' was the propensity of Western thinkers to assume that ideas generated within their intellectual landscape were indicative of reality itself. Although some phases of Western science, notably physics and philosophy, have transcended their parochial origins, aspects of the old medieval synthesis still remain in the Western worldview. The gradual fragmentation of the old categories of natural history and theology into the isolated sciences and disciplines of today has produced a myriad of separate bodies of knowledge complete with their professional priesthoods and has allowed considerable slippage in the ability of the Western scientific paradigm to generate adequate explanations for the multitude of problems we face as a society.

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Copyright © 1999 University of Minnesota Press. This article first appeared in Wicazo Sa Review (Autumn 1999), 67-76.

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