Historians of Science have not waited until now to appreciate the importance of the transmission phenomenon for the Hellenistic, Arabic and Latin scientific thought until the eighteenth century. The emergence of the Latin science itself is incomprehensible unless one refers to the reception of its Greek and Arabic heritage; nor can one hope to reach a full understanding of the achievements of the Greek science itself without the substantial part that survived only in Arabic and Latin.
The phrase "The science is substantially a western phenomenon” acts as a postulate which still conditions contemporary scientific ideologies and has been characterized as the “Eurocentric perception of science”. Under this postulate the Arabic science consists of a preservation of the Greek patrimony, transmitted intact or enriched by technical innovation by the legitimate heirs of ancient science.
In our presentation we will try, by giving examples from one field of advanced mathematics (conic sections), to oppose the image of transmission as passive reception to the one of conversion, reactivation and renewal of one or more disciplines in the context of European medieval scientific thought. Our example will show that the Latin science couldn’t take place without the important transmission of Arabic scientific texts and this will prove the historical distortion made by the Eurocentric perception of science and show the need for an important place for Arabic scientific thought in a common European textbook for the History of Science.