Book

What Is Medicine?

Paul Unschuld

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001
What Is Medicine?

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This book is a comparative history of two millennia of Western and Chinese medicine from their beginnings in the centuries bce through present advances in sciences such as molecular biology and in Western adaptations of traditional Chinese medicine. In this interpretation of the basic forces that undergird shifts in medical theory, the book relates the history of medicine in both Europe and China to changes in politics, economics, and other contextual factors. Drawing on extended research of Chinese primary sources as well as scholarship in European medical history, this book argues against any claims of “truth” in former and current, Eastern and Western models of physiology and pathology. The book contributes to discussions on health care policies while illuminating the nature of cognitive dynamics in medicine, and stimulates fresh debate on the essence and interpretation of reality in medicine's attempts to manage the human organism.

Keywords: molecular biology; traditional Chinese medicine; medical theory; history of medicine; politics; economics; European medical history; physiology; pathology; health care policies

Book.  256 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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