3. ‘Kexue wenhua’ in Chinese and ‘scientific culture’, ‘science culture’, ‘culture of science’ and ‘science as culture’ in
English: the meanings and the structure
The Chinese phrase kexue wenhua is a combined translation of science (equivalent to kexue) in a narrow sense and culture (equivalent to wenhua) in a narrow sense. In fact, kexue wenhua has multiple meanings (captured in four English phrases: ‘scientific culture’, ‘science culture’, ‘culture of science’ and ‘science as culture’), which confuse Chinese scholars greatly. This paper explores the diverse meanings of kexue wenhua. After tracing the sources of the four English phrases and studying some academic works of Western scholars, we have found that ‘scientific culture’ focuses on science’s relationship with the scientific community, science education or science literacy; ‘science culture’ focuses on the establishment and application of the science culture index; the ‘culture of science’ focuses on its relationship with science communication; and ‘science as culture’ focuses on its research approaches and social significance. Based on this analysis, we propose a new four-layer structure for kexue wenhua, which comprises the cultural layers of material state, of system, of behaviour, and of mind. In this structure, material state is the basis, mind is the core, behaviour is the circulatory system, and the system is the framework.