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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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Ethics and Legality

Ethics and Legality

5 Ethics and Legality
What Is Medicine?

Paul U. Unschuld

University of California Press

The distinct opposites of order and disorder, harmony and chaos were only knowable from social reality, after looking back at centuries of human behavior. The simultaneous projection of the concepts of order and of systematic correspondence from society onto nature could occur only after this knowledge had been attained. It led to origin of the doctrines of yin-yang and the five agents. The latter was initially conceived of expressly to explain social and political change. The doctrine of the five agents was expanded only in a second step to explain all kinds of change. Change is the temporary dominance of certain agents. The foundations for Chinese natural sciences were laid by 300 bc that led to the assumption of inherent laws. Law is the opposite of arbitrariness, or the randomness of actions, in which the decisions to act in one way or another follow no schematic instructions. They could arise from either emotions or from considerations of the present moment.

Keywords:   human behavior, doctrines of yin-yang, five agents, Chinese natural sciences, ancient Chinese philosophical school

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