New PDF release: A Cultural History of Modern Science in China

By Benjamin A. Elman

ISBN-10: 0674023064

ISBN-13: 9780674023062

ISBN-10: 0674030427

ISBN-13: 9780674030428

Historians of technological know-how and Sinologists have lengthy wanted a unified narrative to explain the chinese language improvement of recent technological know-how, medication, and know-how when you consider that 1600. They welcomed the looks in 2005 of Benjamin Elman's masterwork, all alone phrases. Now Elman has retold the tale of the Jesuit influence on past due imperial China, circa 1600-1800, and the Protestant period in early smooth China from the 1840s to 1900 in a concise and obtainable shape perfect for the school room. This coherent account of the emergence of contemporary technology in China areas that emergence in ancient context for either normal scholars of recent technological know-how and experts of China. (20070112)

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Yet the European and Chinese scientific cultures still diverged during the eighteenth century. 2 Traditional Chinese medicine also looked to the past for new ideas. Intellectual and therapeutic developments increasingly focused on “heat factor” illnesses as a new category of disease, distinct from perennial “cold factor” illnesses. In addition, a reemphasis on ancient texts such as the Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders in the eighteenth century stimulated the reexamination of pre-Song therapies for cold- and heat-factor illnesses.

Interestingly, Aristotle had complemented the four elements with ether as a fifth substance to account for celestial bodies that were not susceptible to change and remained in eternal, circular motion. The sublunar world was composed of the four elements and subject to finite motions of all kinds in a world of constant change and transformation. THE JESUIT LEGACY 29 The Chinese notion of qi also worried Ricci and his colleagues because they saw in it a materialist continuum that encompassed all matter.

Accordingly, the myriad things in the world are distinguished by their being pure or composite. The pure elements are the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire. Composite things take on five forms such as the category of rain, dew, thunder, and lightning, the category of metals and stones, the category of plants, trees, and the five grains, the category of birds and animals, and the category of humans. 30 Vagnoni’s concern from the outset was to gainsay Chinese inclusion of metal and wood as elements.

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A Cultural History of Modern Science in China by Benjamin A. Elman


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