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The Theoretical Foundations of Chinese Medicine: Systems of Correspondence. by Manfred Porkert Review by: Arthur M.

Kleinman The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Nov., 1975), pp. 134-136 Published by: Association for Asian Studies Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2054053 . Accessed: 30/09/2013 05:38
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I0,000; 30,000; 70,000; 300,000 andsoonrather M.I.T. Press, 1974. xvi,368pp. Illustrations, Bibliography. say,io,ooo; 30,000; 90,000; 270,000) was than, $I3.95 systematic complicating simply egregious-greatly inrank- Afterreading Porkert'sTheoreticalFoundaanyregularities andobscuring inference, there can be little doubtthatthiswork in thedata. tions, inhere thatmight size distribution byfarthemost authoritative andfunto represents information sufficient provide Localgazetteers todateoftheliterate the damental tradition of between study equivalences work out putative of its Chinese medicine. Hereafter,all future the number in a city, of stores number onthat subject canbeexpected totake but nothing scholarship and the city'spopulation; streets, from theterminological foundations and inferreditsstart wasdone,so that ofthissort systematic exhaustive discussion ofthesystematic corand lessthanconsis- nearly are off-the-cuff populations underlying Chinese medicine that withdata in another respondences tent.Rozmanis careless contributions of this very imrulewhat are thetwomajor He takes as a general critical respect. work. Thisvolume is thefirst in a prothat pressive tendency-namely, was onlyan empirical forWestern hadmore pop- jectedseriesaimedat elucidating units administrative more populous the theoretical and practical sides of that thepopula- readers then argues ulouscapitals-and pathology, pharmacology, acupuncture, tionof a capitalwas a function of thepopulation diagnosis, in the "classical"Chinese unit (e.g.,pp.66 and207). As and chemotherapy ofitsadministrative thecausal medical however, China, One can only in awe of for I read theevidence tradition. stand the the sheerenormity went of the lifetime normally program of in thisweakcovariation flow large scholarly from laborthisMunichsinologist has emadministered way-thatis,units other inorder were barked Andaweis again when the centrality upon. ofeconomic levels with high cities thatPorkert's of the realizes conception for reader inorder toencompass, made deliberately large medical system is ofa separate andliving of Chinese as possibie revenue as much extraction, efficient onethat a needed addiscience, provides commercialmedical productive the city'sexceptionally andthecontemtionto Western medical science hinterland. exofmedical care.Porkert the qualityof porary practice states concerns A finalcomplaint thathe has written his book not for andthe plicitly andartwork, format andproofing, editing tocontemplate hermetic All are sinologists as a useless disof scholarship. standard paraphernalia in the cipline, norfor historians ofscience as wanting tocompare is totally Consistency abysmal. toWestern butfor oddity science, recourse a cross-cultural indiscriminate form ofcity names-with medical andpractitioners to understand, scientists or bastard transcripto Wade-Giles, post-office, a translation of anduse.Hisisnotsimply out, tionsin the case of Chinesenames,and to test ofthe No dis- andcommentary basic Chinese forms. upon aspects or present-day nineteenth-century it is extremely valuable the namesof ad- medical classics (though tinction is made between an attempt to and forhaving donethat), cities; butrather andof their capital units ministrative withinthe focusof as to be un- place Chinesemedicine namesare so garbled someplace, to do so not in design, modern medicine-and scientific The mapsare miserable recognizable. inthesupposedly torationalize theformer merely andinonecase(p. 246) inexecution, sophomoric ofthelatter, butto truly univerterms and lacks universal The glossary is incomplete inaccurate. Thepages devoted toendnotes unhelp- salize the latterand to lead to an eventual characters. ofboth traditions. Thisis an synthesis oftext ofthe pages theoretical indication range omit any fully a goal; to viewthisbookas simply In short, another bad,book. astounding towhich they pertain. in an abstruse of subdomain to philological exercise The catchis thatthisone is indispensable wouldbe a serious mistake. sinology Chinaand Tokugawa classical of Ch'ing serious students Porkert is essentially The problem confronting Japan. within both its Chinese medicine this:to explain G. WILLIAM SKINNER thewholly exownrational framework andfrom University Stanford medical then ternal framework ofmodern science, to somehow relatethese two verydifferent in I believe The Theoretical Foundations of Chinese perspectives. he largely that succeeds deservis a tour de force of Correspondence.doing thefirst Medicine: Systems (andthat Mass.: ingvery BY MANFRED PORKERT. Cambridge, butnottherest. His comhighpraise),

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BOOK REVIEWS

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that form the theoretical parative analysis of this unique system of of correspondences Here of Chinesemedicine. practice,fascinating skeleton of all aspects and therapeutic rationality of problematic. Porkert clear and detailedexplanations is, is highly offers as it clearly and important Only careful scholarshipby others, who basic concepts and their functionin medical work theory, byPorkert's the cycle polarity, will nowbe attracted theyin-yang hopefully including the cor- of the Five EvolutivePhases (wu-hsing), will determine subject, phase to thisdeserving the energetics(yin-chi), orbisiconography supporting research ofthephilological (tsangrectness between relationship Lacking the necessary hsiang),and the functional TheoreticalFoundations. or sinarteries (ching-luo)and in thatarea, I willleave thisquestion energetic conduits competence is the presen- sensitive validity, philological points(shu-hsieh). The terminology aside. Assuming to develop Porkert's attempt is lucid original, of correspondences representing tationof the system abandonsan standardized ofChinesemedical terms essentially Porkert translations and compelling. the (in Englishand Latin). This difficult outlining briefly (onlyvery and tedious approach historical theChinesemedical work should prove quite valuable for future within background historical he ex- research, for forthe different major concepts congratulations tradition deserves and Porkert terms laying the terminological of the central foundations for the amines)and bases his study of systematic on an analysis and ideas in Chinesemedicine studyof Chinesemedicine. outlining of this approachshouldbe It is worthwhile Three components nei-ching. theHuang-ti Porkert's out fortheir specialsignificance. sinceit will readilyrevealwhat is singled his approach, Phases(wu-hsing) oftheFiveEvolutive aboutthis discussion and also whatis troublesome significant manymisconcepand goes farto rectify is superb, volume. a comparative tions and obfuscationsthat have burdened Porkertbegins by presenting of aspect thiscentral efforts to understand of previous the rationalities for contrasting framework Chinese medicine and Western science. The the systemof relations and correspondences. ofcognitive Specifically, he demonstrates that Chinese as a uniquesystem he describes former a science of functional an "inductive and syn- medicineis essentially and processes, structures or empirically (speculative relationships differs markedly of that thetic"mode cognition and, as such, is not only very thathas demonstrable) rationality the"causal and analytic" from of muchof the structural from approach medicinein the West, both different served scientific medicalscience,but also becomes is a tight contemporary His argument and at present. historically such an whenviewedfrom distorted in thephilosophy significantly definitions one,basedon certain of the The elaborate description of how alienperspective. of science, along withhis own definitions of energetics, fromthe EvolutivePhases and the system Chinesescienceoperates;but it suffers ex- thoughprobablydoing full justice to the rich Although employed. highlevel of abstraction perhaps,to a materialshe is workingwith, remainsterribly pressedin termsunderstandable, One hopesthatin and difficult to follow. philosopherof science, this discussion seems complex with futurevolumes, Porkert will write somewhat readers reachof most theintellectual beyond of his accountsthat are less demanding a specificinterestin Chinese medicine itself. simpler discus- readers. Here we have a recurrentthorny Indeed, thiskindof Teutonictheoretical book to difficult by problem: this is an extremely sion will be foundremoteand unconvincing subof theesoteric and medicalmen whose interest read. In part,thisis theresult those scientists But in part, it seemsto represent itself. and jectmatter desiresto capture.A much simpler Porkert side about his wouldhave beenmoreuseful. some ambivalenceon Porkert's extended discussion claimthough Foundations, of audience.Theoretical and high level of abstraction The brevity to Chinese a introduction to general be ing for another are lamentable Porkert'sremarks I reads much more like a dictionary; reason as well: this question of different medicine, to to sayit will be moreappealing facing wouldventure currently is a crucialproblem rationalities sourcethanas a book as a reference kindsof mostreaders out manydifferent carrying researchers coverto cover. from through and the case of to be read straight investigations; cross-cultural thatstand giventhe unusualobjectives on However, wouldseem to bear directly Chinesemedicine the behindthis volume,it is easy to understand thisproblem. exin writing botha scholarly difficulties Of course is onlyan introduction author's thisdiscussion in the framework of the system egesis that is interpretable chiefconcern:explaining to Porkert's

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whocanappreciateprovide andsophisticated account those such a thorough anda guidefor science, itscientifically butlackthenecessary philologicalof thetheory medicine. Chinese supporting background. ARTHUR M. KLEINMAN A second important contribution is theconcepHarvardMedical School tionexpressed of tsangby Porkert's rendering Herehe shows as orbisiconography. hsiang ithat tsang-hsiang,ratherthan signifying a close SciencePolicyand Research and Revolution: it has beentaken to of anatomy-as counterpart SocietalChangein China.BYRICHARDP. It is a description, not do-is infact itsantithesis. Books, Lexington SUTTMEIER. Lexington: butofenergetic ofanatomical structures, processes I974. i88 PP. -$I5.00 in the and their dynamicinterrelationships microcosmic organism. is a sound,scholarly Researchand Revolution Thetwo examples discussed here both stress the description and analysis of thechanges in policy ofChinese and toward inChina the during functional characteristics medicine, scientific organization to focus in detail,the on ecological interactions. It describes, its tendency pastquarter-century. The emergence ofsophisticated ecological perspec-organization of the Chinese and development as recent Academy Policy debates on science tivesand chronobiological interests, of Sciences. in science, to theimportance examined are thoroughly up to the developments point organization of these dynamic interactions-which werealso Cultural Revolution.For the post-Cultural part, ina different ofHippocratic medicine. Revolution form, thebookis sketchy butuseful. period, Finally, Porkert provides an excellent chapter Organizations to encourage mass and principles on sinarteriology in which he participation and foraminilogy, inscience andtechnology arealsoexand amined. outlines thetheoretical basisofphysiological the wasmarked bymuch organization amenable pathological relationships to acupunc- Science ture that between thetwolines". as were treatment. Herehedemonstrates the sen- same"struggle thesinarteries-are sitive other fieldsof activity-suchas industrial points-not empirically verifiable, while thesinarterial system operates as organization, and agriculture. health, education, a meremnemonic modela mobilization device.Alongthe way,he In general, Mao favored provides detailed definitions ofsuch crucial terms with eliminadecentralization, mass participation, as ch/i, etc. ching, shen, hsuieh, tion ofmanual andmental integration ofelitism, with Whatremains this book work, Liu Shao-ch'i incentives. most troublesome and ideological ofan alternate is itsclaim toexploration system of believed modelin a bureaucratic-professional medical practice that holds theoretical, as wellas marked control, professional expertise, bycentral modern practical, significance for medical science. and material incentives. two analysis, Suttmeier brings general Porkert stands nearly aloneamongserious stu- To this ofChinese intheWest, he shows thatChinese First, dents medicine insights. as far as I important can determine, in maintaining theviewthat inscience hasnotsimply syn- policy gone organization between medical It is thesis these distinct must backand forth from to another. systems onepolicy on a theoretical, occur as wellas on a practical,nota ping-pong inonecourt in andthen ball,first level.This provocative notion nowhere receives another; noris the. pendulum metaphor suitable. inwhich treatment in thepresent Nor Suttmeier that is a spiral, volume. discovers policy adequate in each in nearly learning and feedback is constant does he explain detailexactly there enough whatit is aboutChinese medical theory thatis policy oftheearly Thus,thepolicies experiment. in themidi95osworth the to those investigating from standpoint ofmodern I96os-whilesimilar what of arenotexactly andshow of is worthy ofthesustained interest thesame, indications science, medical this theCultural practitioners. Certainly issue deserved growth andimprovement. Likewise, more than it has received in this Revolution copies much attention were notsimple carbon policies volume. Yet even It is inthis policies. introductory criticism points of the GreatLeap Forward to'the ofthe to notethata recent in Peking article extraordinary accomplishments book, teresting the it (almost Review(October same sincethe readercomesto evaluate 25, I974) used precisely thedevelopment of himself) despite bythesamevisionary objective image(spiral)in describing it does policy in China. thattheauthor because proposes, largely

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