Modern science originated in Western Europe, but its astonishing successes have forced every other civilization in the world to acknowledge and embrace its achievements. It is at the core of modernity and of the globalization of civilization. Consequently, efforts to show that non-Western traditions of thought should be taken seriously within the paradigm of science itself will inevitably provoke skepticism. However, science itself is riven not only by major problems and rival research programs, but by different conceptions about what is science and what are its goals. These have generated such confusion, even within such advanced fields of science as physics, that more and more scientists are examining non-Western traditions of thought to provide a sufficiently broad perspective to overcome this confusion, to identify the core problems within science and to redefine it and its goals. This special edition brings into focus such work in a historical-epistemological perspective.