Value-free Biology and Cultural Interpretation

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:
Value-free Biology and Cultural Interpretation

Show Summary Details


This chapter throws light on the interpretation of Western medicine by the Chinese. The Chinese, influenced by the Confucians' early intervention maxims, did not like the concept of the powers of self-healing. It is unwelcome even today, more so because the practice of medicine is now subject to economic factors. The emphasis is on prevention, which usually means early detection and early treatment. Immunology, molecular biologists' newest playing field, cannot be forgotten. It has a qualified germ theory and is familiar to the Chinese. The culture of medicine takes certain processes out of value-neutral biology and judges them. It has been known by the Chinese for two millennia. It does so today, in modern medicine. Knowledge of reality has changed considerably. Yet the cultural interpretation has stayed the same.

Keywords: Western Medicine; Chinese; self-healing; culture of medicine; value-neutral biology; cultural interpretation

Chapter.  867 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.