The worldviews of Chinese and modern medicine are fundamentally different. Chinese medicine views the human body, not simply as a biological system, but as a holistic microcosm, whose health depends on maintaining harmonious function at the level of internal microcosm and in relation to the wider context understood as parallel macrocosm. Without denying the success of natural science, philosophers have developed alternative epistemological conceptions that aim to better capture the nature of knowledge specifically related to human phenomena. Wilhelm Dilthey draws a distinction between understanding (Verstehen) and explanation (Erklären) as the specific form of knowing in human and natural sciences respectively. In contrast to positivistic knowledge of natural sciences, knowledge in human sciences is essentially hermeneutic in nature, knowledge that involves interpretation and understanding that takes into account variant contexts and perspectives. The thesis applies the hermeneutic conception to Chinese medical knowledge with the aim to develop a promising framework for understanding the nature of Chinese medicine and explaining the role of Chinese medical classics.
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Thesis advisor: Crowe, Paul
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