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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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Etymology-Based Literal Translation Approach and Strangification: Efficient Methods for Successful Intercultural Communications Dissemination of foreign cultures in large scales occurred twice in the history of China. One is the dissemination of Buddhism since Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 220) of about 2,000 years ago, and the other is the dissemination of Catholicism since Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) of about 400 years ago, plus later the dissemination of Christian religion. Both disseminations seem to be the dissemination of different religions on the surface, but in essence, what have been actually introduced into China are Indian and Western cultures, including philosophy, arts, sciences, technologies, and so and so forth. If without these two disseminations, the development of science, technology, and culture of the present days in China would have had been definitely not the case. That is an indisputable fact, leaving no leeway for further debate.418 Of course, translation and intercultural activities are essential for the success of these two disseminations, during which conflicts transformed into mutual understanding, and then even to integration of different cultures. Chinese culture is a typical inclusive culture with manifoldness – modern Western culture, classical Chinese culture, Indian Buddhism culture, and culture of national minorities coexist in China today. Here I would like to take the dissemination of Chinese medicine in the West as the example to illustrate how significant the proper translation approach and intercultural methodology are in the process from conflicts to mutual understanding to coexistence in a complementary way between medicine East and West. 417...

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