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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the editor of the collectanea, Chen Diexian 陳蝶仙 (1879-1940), warned against the dangers of false, misprinted words, substandard medicine, faulty chemical knowledge, as well as the pirating of texts. By examining how industrial manuals sought to authenticate know-how as "scientific" and promote the spirit of shiyan 實驗 (investigating through practice), the chapter moves beyond the Needham paradigm that seeks to recover an authentic "Chinese science" in contradistinction to "Western" modern science. The 1930s was a period when mass production in China had developed at an unprecedented scale and when industrial science and the practices of modern capitalism had substantially matured. Chen made a point of noting that in addition to his own personal verification, the content was scrutinized by a number of readers who had put such knowledge into practice, and the entries were confirmed through their positive results and reports of satisfaction.

Keywords: Chen Diexian's collectanea; Chinese science; industrial science; modern capitalism; Needham paradigm; spirit of shiyan; western modern science

10.1163/9789004268784_009
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