The Individual and the Whole

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:
The Individual and the Whole

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This chapter focuses on the differences in the emergence of Greek medicine and Chinese medicine. Chinese antiquity, the consciousness of the necessity of laws emerged against a completely different backdrop than in Greek antiquity. The increasingly larger political entity in China eventually required a departure from the arbitrary rule based on personal relationships and emotions. Dao De Jing depicts a political philosophy that proposes the ideal of the smallest possible community, a community that seeks no contact at all with the neighboring villages. The idea of “order” in early Chinese science was essential to the expression of the idea of systematic correlation and correspondence of all phenomena in Greek antiquity, the ideal of a government guided by laws could be realized only in the smallest political units, the city-states of the polis, since this ideal also comprised the self-determination of every individual full citizen, an aspect that will again be important understanding an especially remarkable difference between Chinese and Greek medicine. In Greece, there was no persistent “cataclysmic turmoil” lasting several centuries to influence the necessity of restoring unity of the country into the general consciousness and focus a view of the systematic correlation and correspondence of all phenomena.

Keywords: Greek medicine; Chinese medicine; Greek antiquity; Chinese science; Chinese kingdom; Chinese antiquity

Chapter.  826 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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