Chapter

Why Laws of Nature?

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257658.003.0003
Why Laws of Nature?

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This chapter presents the emergence of science and medicine in China. The essence of science lies in the assumption that inherent laws determine all events in the universe, irrespective of place, time, and person. The knowledge of the power of the gods, ancestors, and demons determined much of human individual and social interaction. The gods were capable of intervening in the course of events, of sending rain or punishing with drought, of making a harvest possible or destroying it, of imposing death on a person or allowing someone to recover from illness. The science was created in China in the third century bc. The people in China doubted the influence of the numinous on events and claimed that inherent laws controlled everything past and present. It is unlikely that people's intelligence suddenly changed at that time. The inherent laws now postulated were just as recognizable or unrecognizable as they had always been.

Keywords: power of the gods; Chinese medicine; emergence of science; social interaction; laws of nature

Chapter.  1298 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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