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Culture, Philosophy, and Chinese Medicine

Viennese Lectures


Fengli Lan

Chinese medicine is a culturally dependent art of healing deeply rooted in the culture and philosophy of the country it originated from: China. This book has three independent but progressive parts, each bearing the title of one of the three courses taught by the author as a visiting professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, Vienna University, in the 2010-2011 winter semester, namely: Overview of Chinese Culture through Chinese Characters, Fundamental Concepts of Classical Chinese Philosophy and The Importance of Metaphors in Chinese Medicine, which are in the fields of philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and intercultural philosophy, aiming to reveal the essence of philosophy of Chinese language, classical Chinese philosophy and Chinese medicine within the context of a global, multicultural background. This book sums up the author’s research outcome of the last few years in an area of study on culture, philosophy and Chinese medicine which has been too often misunderstood or insufficiently emphasized.


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III The Importance of Metaphors in Chinese Medicine (180368)


238 Chinese medicine is the only live symbol of classical Chinese culture, philosophy, and science. - The Author Introduction Traditional medicine, also known as “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” (CAM), Non-Conventional or Non-Orthodox Medicine in the West, is a comprehensive term for all traditional medical systems or various forms of indigenous medicine. For example, Chinese medicine, a traditional medical system of Chinese origin, Indian Ayurveda medicine, a traditional system of medicine from India, Arabic Unani medicine, ancient Greek medicine that has evolved within the Muslim world for the past 13 centuries, and Mapucha medicine, a traditional healing system from Chile, etc. are all traditional medical systems from different cultures. All these traditional medical systems share at least one thing in common, i.e. they have remarkable features of their own cultures. As Guidance for Industry on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Products and Their Regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, DRAFT GUIDANCE, Dec. 2006) states that “The term ‘complementary and alternative medicine’ (CAM) encompasses a wide array of health care practices, products, and therapies that are distinct from practices, products, and therapies used in ‘conventional’ or ‘allopathic’ medicine. Some forms of CAM, such as traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, have been practiced for centuries, whereas others, such as electrotherapy, are more recent in origin.”, and that “NCCAM286 describes whole medical systems as involving ‘complete systems of theory and practice that have evolved independently from or parallel to allopathic (conventional) medicine.’ These may reflect individual cultural systems, such as traditional Chinese...

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