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Needham's grand question: its accurate answer and the mathematical principles of Chinese natural philosophy and medicine
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  • Journal title : TANG [HUMANITAS MEDICINE]
  • Volume 5, Issue 2,  2015, pp.9.1-9.14
  • Publisher : Association of Humanitas Medicine
  • DOI : 10.5667/tang.2015.0005
 Title & Authors
Needham's grand question: its accurate answer and the mathematical principles of Chinese natural philosophy and medicine
Chang, Shyang;
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 Abstract
The so-called "Needham's Grand Question" (NGQ) can be formulated as why modern science was developed in Europe despite the earlier successes of science and technology in ancient China. Numerous answers have been proposed. In this review, it will be pointed out that traditional Chinese natural philosophy (TCNP) and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are in fact dealing with problems of highly complex dynamical systems of Nature and human beings. Due to the lack of mathematical machinery in dealing with such complex phenomena, a holistic approach was taken by ancient Chinese instead. It was very successful for the first eighteen centuries. In the recent three centuries, however, the reductionist and mechanistic viewpoints of Western natural philosophy, sciences, and medicine have been prevalent all over the world up to now. The main obstacle in preventing the advancement of TCM, TCNP and its sciences is actually the lacking of proper mathematical tools in dealing with complex dynamical systems. Fortunately, the tools are now available and a "chaotic wave theory of fractal continuum" has been proposed recently. To give the theory an operational meaning, three basic laws of TCNP are outlined. These three laws of wave/field interactions contrast readily with those of Newton's particle collisions. Via the proposed three laws, TCM, TCNP and its sciences can be unified under the same principles. Finally, an answer to NGQ can be accurately given. It is hoped that this review will help promoting a genuine understanding of natural philosophy, sciences, and medicine in an ecumenical way.
 Keywords
chaotic wave theory of fractal continuum;mathematical principles of traditional Chinese natural philosophy;traditional Chinese medicine;Needham's Grand Question;
 Language
English
 Cited by
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