Tuesday, April 7, 2020

"A Way of Life"

New from Yale University Press: A Way of Life: Things, Thought, and Action in Chinese Medicine by Judith Farquhar.

About the book, from the publisher:
A short and thoughtful introduction to traditional Chinese medicine that looks beyond the conventional boundaries of Western modernism and biomedical science

Traditional Chinese medicine is often viewed as mystical or superstitious, with outcomes requiring na├»ve faith. Judith Farquhar, drawing on her hard-won knowledge of social, intellectual, and clinical worlds in today’s China, here offers a concise and nuanced treatment that addresses enduring and troublesome ontological, epistemological, and ethical questions. In this work, which is based on her 2017 Terry Lectures “Reality, Reason, and Action In and Beyond Chinese Medicine,” she considers how the modern, rationalized, and scientific field of traditional Chinese medicine constructs its very real objects (bodies, symptoms, drugs), how experts think through and sort out pathology and health (yinyang, right qi/wrong qi, stasis, flow), and how contemporary doctors act responsibly to “seek out the root” of bodily disorder. Through this refined investigation, East-West contrasts collapse, and systematic Chinese medicine, no longer a mystery or a pseudo-science, can become a philosophical ally and a rich resource for a more capacious science.
Judith Farquhar is the Max Palevsky Professor Emerita in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. She studies traditional medicine, popular culture, and everyday life in contemporary China. Her books include Ten Thousand Things: Nurturing Life in Contemporary Beijing.

--Marshal Zeringue