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Unformatted text preview: Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011 DOI: 10.1163/157342109X568946 Asian Medicine 5 (2009) 5779 brill.nl/asme Knowing the Why but not the How: A Dilemma in Contemporary Chinese Medicine Jun Wang and Judith Farquhar Abstract This paper explores how modernisation of Chinese medicine has transformed Chinese medicine doctors, as they like to say, from knowing the how but not the why to knowing the why but not the how. Through unfolding the multi-faceted connotations and associations of these pro- verbial formulas in the Chinese medicine field, we show the inevitable dilemma troubling many Chinese medicine doctors, who feel they are stuck between the institutional demands of catching up with the latest scientific knowledge and continuing the eminently effective features of Chi- nese medicine in practice. The crisis of knowing the why but not the how demonstrates that, despite rather thoroughgoing scientisation, there are continuing conicts between the modes of knowing characteristic of Chinese medicine and modern science, which result from the assumed hierarchy of knowing. Keywords Chinese Medicine, traditional knowledge, scientisation Introduction In parallel with the recent global movement of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States and Europe, ever more generous fund- ing for scientific research on Chinese medicine is leading Chinese medicine doctors in China to accelerate the production of scientifically-validated knowl- edge. 1 These activities not only engage them in serious dialogue with the inter- national CAM community, but also create a higher profile of legitimacy for the practice of Chinese medicine. Such strategies and recent successes might begin to undermine the static, traditional image that has long been projected 1 In contrast with the American medical system, there is no strict division between biomedi- cal M.D.s and doctors of Oriental Medicine in China. Chinese medicine doctors in general hospitals and research institutes not only have sucient Western medicine training and licenses to practice Western medicine, but also compete with Western medicine doctors for TCM scien- tific research funds. For detailed descriptions of the indistinct boundaries between TCM and WM in China, see Scheid 2002 and Karchmer 2005. 58 J. Wang, J. Farquhar / Asian Medicine 5 (2009) 5779 as a contrast to modern Western medicine. However, after several decades of all-out scientisation, the institutional privileging of Western scientific knowl- edge in Chinese medicine research has produced a deepening predicament among Chinese medicine experts. Borrowing diagnostic terms from Chinese medicine, they often describe this situation as an internal deficiency or more specifically a real shortfall within an apparent ourishing....
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This note was uploaded on 09/29/2011 for the course HH 383 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at S.F. State.
- Spring '11
- The Land