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What Is Medicine?Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing$
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Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257658

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001

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Why Laws of Nature?

Why Laws of Nature?

3 Why Laws of Nature?
What Is Medicine?

Paul U. Unschuld

University of California Press

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

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