Chinese Medicine and the Yi Jing's Epistemic Methodology

West End, Qld
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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, 2008, 3 (1), pp. 17 - 23
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Traditional Chinese medicine and contemporary biomedicine have developed methodologies that observe and investigate the human body from different epistemological perspectives. Their conceptual differences have been a recurring topic in the West. The contribution of our article to this topic draws on the ontological and epistemological insights found in the Yi Jing (Book of Changes). Readers will already be familiar with the argument that Chinese medicine has been profoundly influenced by the Yi Jingâs use of yin-yang theory. This paper offers a fresh perspective by examining the Great Commentaryâs dao-xiang-qi cosmology. âDao-xiang-qiâ stands for abstract principles, emergent manifestations, and concrete objects respectively, and this triadic conception of reality leads to an analysis of the human body from a holistic, process-oriented epistemology. The interpretations of reality and being contained in the Yi Jing were developed by careful and detailed observation over time, and have deeply influenced Chinaâs philosophical and scientific traditions, including medicine. The effect of the dao-xiang-qi (way-image-vessel) triad on Chinese medicine has lead to its characteristic âdao xiangâ epistemic: investigations of human health and illness focus on the living body and result in a more functional or process-oriented epistemic. Relatively speaking, biomedical investigations are guided by a qi-vessel epistemic that places more importance on objective, physicalist information and on quantitative and concrete data. The purpose of this paper is to explore the Yi Jingâs influence on medical epistemics and the influence of dao-xiang-qi for Chinese medical investigations and methodologies.
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