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Editor: Howard Chiang

This collection expands the history of Chinese medicine by bridging the philosophical concerns of epistemology and the history and cultural politics of transregional medical formations. Topics range from the spread of gingko’s popularity from East Asia to the West to the appeal of acupuncture for complementing in-vitro fertilization regimens, from the modernization of Chinese anatomy and forensic science to the evolving perceptions of the clinical efficacy of Chinese medicine.

The individual essays cohere around the powerful theoretical-methodological approach, “historical epistemology,” with which scholars in science studies have already challenged the seemingly constant and timeless status of such rudimentary but pivotal dimensions of scientific process as knowledge, reason, argument, objectivity, evidence, fact, and truth. Yet given that landmark studies in historical epistemology rarely navigate outside the intellectual landscape of Western science and medicine, this book broadens our understanding of its application and significance by drawing on and exploring the rich cultures of Chinese medicine. In studying the globalizing role of medical objects, the contested premise of medical authority and legitimacy, and the syncretic transformations of metaphysical and ontological knowledge, contributors illuminate how the breadth of the historical study of Chinese medicine and its practices of knowledge-making in the modern period must be at once philosophical and transnational in scope.

This book will appeal to students and scholars working in science studies and medical humanities as well as readers who are interested in the broader problems of translation, material culture, and the global circulation of knowledge.

Dorothy Porter

dosage plans ignores broader dimensions of balancing cultural conflict surrounding ontological and emergent meanings of the disease and the transcendent metaphysics of creativity. In this way it speaks directly to the central themes of this volume, which addresses the contingent scientific and clinical normativities of physiological and psychological balance and their relationship to models of the self. 10 Drawing out the historical determinants of contingently normative neo-humoralism threaded through the story of

in Balancing the self
Judith Farquhar

represent, the assumptions about Being taken up in ontology, imaginaries of the universe refined in cosmology, and even the grounds of knowing critiqued in epistemology make thought and action, thought as action, possible at all. We are all metaphysicians because we act, and we can only act – in the end – on unproven assumptions. Usually, however, we don’t think metaphysically, and we don’t face up to the conditioned quality, or the contingency, of our everyday knowledge. Indeed, by definition, it is almost impossible to think Being, universal form, and the premises of

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
Howard Chiang

-making have histories. Under the rubrics of “historical epistemology,” “historical ontology,” “epistemological history,” and “applied metaphysics,” path-breaking scholars such as Lorraine Daston, Arnold Davidson, Ian Hacking, and HansJörg Rheinberger have demonstrated that many of the most timeless-seeming of the ideas that we use to understand the world are in fact contingent, having emerged from and gained grounding in particular historical contexts.4 Among this group, Daston has provided the most explicit definition of historical epistemology: “the history of the

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
Analysing mental health discourses and practices in Ireland
Derek Chambers

difficulties escalating into crises can be increased if our cultural framing of mental health is narrow. As I suggest, then, new possibilities for collective understanding will involve a widening of our gaze in mental health beyond the medical ontology which has historically underpinned, and arguably still dominates, mental health policy and practice(s) in the state. Exploring mental health through governmentality The theoretical framework of governmentality can be helpful in exploring tensions between the mentalities and practices of governing, and discourses as they have

in Reframing health and health policy in Ireland
Expertise, authority and the making of medical dominion
Michael Brown

literature and, like his contemporary, Thomas Carlyle, was inspired by the doctrines of idealist philosophy, particularly the work of Johann Gottlieb Fichte. Building upon the intellectual traditions of Immanuel Kant’s ‘critical philosophy’, which sought to move beyond human perception to uncover the ontology of existence, Fichte elaborated a theory of the ‘divine idea’, the spiritual essence which underwrote subjective reality. For Fichte, the task of the scholar was to reveal this essence and to shape human relations in such a way that society might realise its ideal

in Performing medicine
The case of Wang Shixiong (1808–68)
Yi-Li Wu

3 Bodily knowledge and western learning in late imperial China: the case of Wang Shixiong (1808–68) Yi-Li Wu Introduction What phenomena do seekers of knowledge believe to exist and choose to investigate? How do they judge whether they have achieved the knowing of these phenomena? And how are the terms of their inquiries shaped by time and place? These are central questions in the study of what scholars have variously called “historical ontology” and “historical epistemology.”1 This chapter directs these questions at a realm of knowledge that has conventionally

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
Abstract only
Is it time to change our approach to anti-stigma campaigns?
Vicky Long

an approach. Anne Plumb, for example, believes that including people who experience mental distress within the social disability movement on the grounds that they have a ‘hidden impairment’ reinforces the medicalisation of mental distress and risks subsuming the distinctive interests and needs of service users or psychiatric system survivors.22 Recent critiques of the social model of disability also challenge Sayce’s views. Thus Tom Shakespeare and Nicholas Watson urge discarding the social model in favour of an embodied ontology which situates disability within a

in Destigmatising mental illness?
A case study around an enigmatic pouring vessel
Marta Ajmar

, have offered illuminating articulations of the ability of objects to work as metaphors, thus reinforcing the notion that they are able to participate in a register of 266 Performing and portraying health communication as rich as that of language, though possibly more complex.14 Other scholars too have seen the poetic opening inherent in objects’ complex and often enigmatic ontology. As W. David Kingery puts it, No one denies the importance of things, but learning from them requires rather more attention than reading texts. The grammar of things is related to, but

in Conserving health in early modern culture
Abstract only
Vanessa Heggie

Hoberman’s Mortal Engines concentrates specifically on enhancement, mostly doping and psychological techniques, and with a particular emphasis on communist and fascist sports science in the twentieth century. Nonetheless, many of the themes of his work are echoed in the broader history of sports medicine outlined here. In particular, he identifies a shift from an ‘older doctrine of natural limits [to a] new doctrine of expanding biological limits’ around 1900, the changing ‘ontology of human performance’ noted by Beamish and Ritchie (although they locate it later in

in A history of British sports medicine