2 The ‘metaphysic’ of modernity During his fieldwork in Lower Egypt in 1980, Ghosh arranged to meet a local Imam reputed to be highly proficient in the practice of folk medicine. Since folk customs and knowledge were a matter of some relevance to his anthropological research, his meeting with the Imam was surrounded by the expectations established by professional anthropology’s interest in ‘primitive’ or non-modern knowledge. In the event, Ghosh’s expectations were confounded for the Imam had discarded his traditional medicine in favour of modern medical

in Amitav Ghosh

8 Metaphysics at the bedside Judith Farquhar Metaphysics … What is metaphysics, for western philosophy? There are many senses of the term, but here I adopt a notion of metaphysics that has an Aristotelian, Cartesian, and Kantian genealogy. This tradition, always combative but often ignored, sets metaphysics against the sciences (or beneath them as foundation, or above them as the most general result of reasoning); assumptions about the metaphysical differ from positive knowledge of the empirical. Aristotle’s “first philosophy,” classified with his Metaphysics

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine

For the student at any university in late medieval Europe, logic and metaphysics were the necessary preliminaries to any serious engagement with theological questions. Wyclif’s distinctive and controversial theological system relied upon an equally distinctive and impressively intricate philosophical system. His three logical treatises and his Summa de Ente (a modern title) are only now beginning to receive the attention they deserve from scholars, but only one of them ( On Universals ) is available in English translation. I have here

in John Wyclif
Gareth Dale

Part I Religion, metaphysics and ethics Culture – pseudo-culture1 Ernst Mach. Even when man2 still lived in the depths of caves and in the forest canopy, starving and in permanent fear, his primordial imagination was already crowding his mind with all manner of apparitions. The swirling night-time fog would frighten him, as would the shadows of the clouds scudding silently by. His scarcity-afflicted nature was troubled by the constant agitation occasioned by hunger, and everywhere he suspected bloodthirsty creatures were prowling around. In animals he saw

in Karl Polanyi
Elisabeth Bronfen and Beate Neumeier

-historical and political backgrounds. This chapter proposes to consider relevant terminologies and intersections of the Gothic and metaphysical poetry. Brief readings of selected poems by John Donne will serve as examples, and their historical position will yield insights into the proto-Gothic and its functions in metaphysical poetry. The history of the Gothic as a term is an eventful one

in Gothic Renaissance
Case studies from the Victorian period

45 1 Habitual drunkards and metaphysics: case studies from the Victorian period You have not endeavoured to ascertain what induced these people to drink, whether misfortune, or broken health, or what?1 Introduction The figure of the Existential drinker as discussed in the Introduction may seem a long way removed from the images we are familiar with of nineteenth-​century drunkenness and drunkards, treated en masse as types rather than unique, individuated souls. This chapter suggests significant moments in the transition from the nineteenth

in The Existential drinker
Bram Stoker‘s Postcolonial Gothic

That colonialism has associations with eighteenth century humanism is not a controversial claim. The eighteenth century with its fascination with how the subject knows has a central place in Foucault‘s account of the rise of the human sciences in The Order of Things. More recently Leela Gandhi has explored how the virtual construction of subjectivity in the eighteenth century was closely associated with the conceptual formulation of humanity. In these humanist constructions the human became defined by its relation to the non-human in a process where ideas about racial difference were used to form the hierarchies in which subjects were racially located. For Foucault, in the eighteenth century, the subject becomes both an object of knowledge (one that is understood ‘scientifically‘) and a subject who knows one that is interpreted `metaphysically`). This apparently scientific reading of the ‘objective status‘ of the subject reflects on the construction of race as an indicator of Otherness. The wider claim made by Leela Gandhi is that this position has a vestigial presence in much of todays `science‘. It is this correlation between race and certain pseudo-scientific taxonomies relating to race which underpin, in the nineteenth century, those theories of degeneration that attempted to account for perceptions of imperial decline, and it is these ideas that influenced Stoker‘s writings. Most notably Dracula has received considerable critical attention on the novels reliance on a model of degeneracy that articulates contemporary anxieties relating to criminality and race; this common view of Dracula is one that associates the Other (the vampire) with theories of degeneracy. The novel is also, arguably self-consciously so, about knowledge. The oddly unheroic pursuit of the vampire hunters is apparent in their search through documentation in order to develop an explanatory theory for vampirism. It is this pursuit of knowledge which is also to be found in A,Glimpse of America (1886) and The Mystery of the Sea (1902). Knowledge as knowledge of the national and/or racial Other is the central issue to which Stoker keeps returning.

Gothic Studies
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.

Abstract only
Thinking poets

The names Edmund Spenser and John Donne are typically associated with different ages in English poetry, the former with the sixteenth century and the Elizabethan Golden Age, the latter with the ‘metaphysical’ poets of the seventeenth century. This collection of essays, part of The Manchester Spenser series, brings together leading Spenser and Donne scholars to challenge this dichotomous view and to engage critically with both poets, not only at the sites of direct allusion, imitation, or parody but also in terms of common preoccupations and continuities of thought, informed by the literary and historical contexts of the politically and intellectually turbulent turn of the century. Juxtaposing these two poets, so apparently unlike one another, for comparison rather than contrast changes our understanding of each poet individually and moves towards a more holistic, relational view of their poetics.

Faith and metaphysical fantasy

Chapter 4 ‘There are no demons’: faith and metaphysical desire Belief and ‘suspension of disbelief’ Hill has professed himself a Christian, and yet a Christian who, in 2011, gave the following reply when asked how much his religion defines him as a poet: Very little. There was a brief period when the Church of England took me up after I published Tenebrae but subsequent books have once more put a distance between us, to our mutual relief I believe. However I  adhere to certain old fashioned religious concepts such as the doctrine of original sin and therefore

in Geoffrey Hill’s later work