Essay on Western Scientific Paradigm and Health Care in the US

The development of western science has had a considerable impact on the development of the western civilization and the world at large. Moreover, the development of western science defined, to a significant extent, the attitude of contemporary people to nature and their lifestyle. However, today, the traditional western scientific paradigm faces considerable challenges from the part of changes occurring in the contemporary society. To put it more precisely, the emergence of the multicultural society raises the problem of the adaptation of the traditional western scientific paradigm to the cultural context in different fields of human life, including health care system, where science and culture are traditionally closely intertwined. In this respect, it is possible to refer to F. Mazzocchi’s report, “Western science and traditional knowledge: Despite their variations, different forms of knowledge can learn from each other”, where the author explores the contemporary western scientific paradigm and its application to the contemporary multicultural society. The author develops the idea that the traditional western scientific paradigm steadily becomes irrelevant to the contemporary to the contemporary society and its further development.

In actuality, the western science plays the dominant part in the contemporary science because the western civilization is dominant in the contemporary world. However, the western scientific paradigm is quite different from other scientific paradigms as well as from the indigenous scientific paradigm of the past (Mazzocchi, 2006). On analyzing the essence of the western scientific paradigm Mazzocchi argues that the western science favors analytical and reductionist methods as opposed to the more intuitive and holistic view often found in traditional knowledge. Western science is positivist and materialist in contrast to traditional knowledge, which is spiritual and does not make distinctions between empirical and sacred (Mazzocchi, 2006). In such a way, the author defines the framework within which the western science develops.

At this point, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the development of materialist and holistic view on knowledge and environment affected consistently the development of different branches of science including medicine.

As a result, the contemporary health care system in the US is grounded on the materialist, holistic approach to human health and rejects other views and approaches to health care services. In such a context, some prospective approaches to and methods of treatment, such as chiropractic, are critically perceived by the conventional western medicine, whereas many alternative methods of treatment, which aim not only on physical or material aspects of treatment but on spiritual ones, are simply rejected by the conventional medicine in the West, including the US.

On the other hand, on applying the concept of western scientific paradigm to the health care environment and different branches of science and social life, a number of problems arise. In this respect, Mazzocchi argues that western science cannot be fully implemented at the international level because any form of knowledge makes sense only within its own cultural context (Mazzocchi, 2006). To put it in simple words, the author identifies the problem of the gap between the scientific paradigm, on the one hand, and the cultural setting in which this paradigm is applied, on the other. The contemporary society grows more and more multicultural. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the US, where representatives of different cultures live together. In such a situation, the conventional western scientific paradigm becomes irrelevant to the cultural environment and, therefore, cannot be implemented effectively. People grow skeptical about science, whereas science becomes remote from people and their needs and expectations.

In such a situation, the need to change the conventional western scientific paradigms becomes obvious because it is necessary to integrate science and the cultural environment closely. In this regard, Mazzocchi suggests using a renewed approach to dialogue among cultures is required (Mazzocchi, 2006). The author argues that the dialogue can become a tool for social cohabitation, as well as for discovering and enhancing knowledge (Mazzocchi, 2006). Therefore, through the dialogue between different cultures and scientific paradigms, scientists and the society can come to the point, when they elaborate some common scientific and cultural ground.

Thus, the contemporary western scientific paradigm becomes out of date and the society and scientists should change it. In this regard, the dialogue between representatives of different cultures is essential because the scientific paradigm is valid only in the context of its culture (Mazzocchi, 2006). Consequently, through inter-cultural dialogue, scientists can elaborate new scientific paradigm.



Gadgil, M., Berkes, F., & Folke, C. (1993). Indigenous knowledge for biodiversity conservation. Ambio, 22, 151”“156.
Mazzocchi, F. (2006). “Western science and traditional knowledge: Despite their variations, different forms of knowledge can learn from each other.” EMBO Reports, 7(5), 463-6.

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