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If you consult encyclopedias and special works in reference to the early history of any one of the sciences,—astronomy, geology, geometry, physiology, logic, or political science, for example,—you will find strongly emphasized the part played by the Greeks in the development of organized knowledge. Great, indeed, as we shall see in the next chapter, are the contributions to the growth of science of this highly rational and speculative people.  What is the meaning of speculative here? Can you substitute it with a synonymous word?
Comments 
It's not exactly the same meaning, but I suggest 'curious'.
Kris Gthis highly rational and speculative people. What is the meaning of speculative here? Can you substitute it with a synonymous word?
questioning; inquisitive; possibly even skeptical

CJ