Chapter

The New Freedom to Expand Knowledge

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/9780520257658.003.0057
The New Freedom to Expand Knowledge

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This chapter sheds light on the new Ming dynasty. The Ming rulers found themselves in a unique situation in which all political interests within the country were balanced against each other. It was an opportunity for the rulers to establish absolutistic rule. The Ming rulers implemented democratic reforms and endorsed Neo-Confucianism, but the method of learning was mechanical. Several physicians and observers of nature had used the new freedom to “investigate things and expand knowledge” in the Song era. They arrived at completely different results. Everyone had a different conclusion as to why people get sick. Everyone proclaimed his own prescription for preventing or healing illness. This individualization of opinions increased during the Ming era and gained such momentum that it retained its dynamism even into the succeeding dynasty, the Qing. The Ming dynasty flourished for about a hundred years and then mismanagement set in. Natural catastrophes increasingly impoverished the population.

Keywords: Ming rulers; Neo-Confucianism; Song era; Ming era; Qing

Chapter.  647 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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