Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 21–58 | Cite as

The angry liver, the anxious heart and the melancholy spleen

The phenomenology of perceptions in chinese culture
  • Thomas Ots


The purpose of this article is to advance a different approach to the phenomenology of the “lived-body.” To understand the role of the body in generating culture, traditional constraints influencing bodily perceptions are considered. The alternative is found in the phenomenological method of bodily perceptions. Numerous examples from traditional Chinese medicine, based on research in China, illustrate a wealth of symptoms, sensations, and their relation to the world of emotions. These examples provide arguments for collapsing the strict distinction between somatic changes and emotions as based in the dichotomized view of mind and body, subject and object. The analysis also includes the semantic dimensions of these bodily processes.


Chinese Medicine Traditional Chinese Medicine Semantic Dimension Bodily Process Phenomenological Method 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Ots
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für EthnologieUniversität HamburgHamburg 13West Germany

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