Advertisement

Feng Shui, Science, and Politics in Contemporary China

  • Michael R. Matthews
Chapter
Part of the Science: Philosophy, History and Education book series (SPHE)

Abstract

The modernization of thought called for by contemporary Chinese scholars echoes the Enlightenment project launched in Europe in the eighteenth century. ‘Modernization’ means recognizing and engaging with the core political (universal rights, anti-absolutism, freedom of speech, and assembly), philosophical (primacy of reason, autonomy of philosophical investigation, and its freedom from religious, party, or state oversight), and scientific (primacy of observation, experimental testing, and commitment to methodological naturalism) arguments advanced by the Enlightenment thinkers. The Enlightenment took different forms in different national contexts, and so it did, and will do, in China. The task of ‘cultural self-consciousness’, as outlined by so many Chinese progressives, is an educational project that requires science-informed historical and philosophical input. Since the late nineteenth century, there has been a constant scientific liberal, dissenting thread in Chinese culture. This was proclaimed on banners of the May Fourth Movement and its promotion of ‘Mr Science’ and ‘Mr Democracy’. The philosophical/political backdrop to the history of science and dissent in China is the adoption of Marxism as the official philosophy of the People’s Republic of China. As an example of the new normalcy of feng shui in ‘Communist’ China, the China Architectural Culture Center held the first summit on architectural feng shui in the Great Hall of the People in September 2004. On the other hand, there have been calls from some academics to have feng shui university courses shut down. These ‘public sphere’ debates can be an occasion for science teachers to encourage discussion and examination of the basic issues in philosophy of science that the debates are predicated upon: What is science? What is scientific method? What counts as evidence for a theory? What is the difference between proactively and reactively seeking evidence for a theory? What is the legitimate and the illegitimate role of metaphysics in science? Can pseudoscience be identified and demarcated from science?

References

  1. Agassi, J. (2013). The very idea of modern science: Francis Bacon and Robert Boyle. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bachman, D. (1991). Bureaucracy, economy, and leadership in China: The institutional origins of the great leap forward. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bloembergen, N. (1980). Physics. In L. A. Orleans (Ed.), Science in contemporary China (pp. 85–109). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bunge, M. (1994). Counter-enlightenment in contemporary social studies. In P. Kurtz & T. J. Madigan (Eds.), Challenges to the enlightenment: In defense of reason and science (pp. 25–42). Buffalo: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  5. Bunge, M. (2011). Scientific philosophy: Lectures to the Chinese Communist Party, Marxism school. Unpublished.Google Scholar
  6. Bunge, M. (2012a). Evaluating philosophies (Boston studies in the philosophy of science) (Vol. 295). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dainian, F., & Cohen, R. S. (Eds.). (1996). Chinese studies in the history and philosophy of science and technology. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  8. Engels, F. (1875–82/1934). Dialectics of nature. Moscow: Progress Publishers.Google Scholar
  9. Fang, L. (1990/1992). Free to speak: Second interview with Tiziano Terzani. In L. Fang (Ed.), Bringing down the Great Wall: Writings on science, culture, and democracy in China (pp. 276–298). New York: Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  10. Fang, L. (1992). Bringing down the Great Wall: Writings on science, culture and democracy in China (J. H. Williams, Ed. & Trans.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  11. Fang, L. (2016). The most wanted man in China: My journey from scientist to enemy of the state (P. Link, Trans.). New York: Henry Holt & Co.Google Scholar
  12. Gong, Y. (1996a). Dialectics of nature in China. Beijing: Beijing University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Graham, A. C. (1973a). China, Europe, and the origins of modern science: Needham’s the grand titration. In S. Nakayama & N. Sivin (Eds.), Chinese science: Explorations of an ancient tradition (pp. 45–69). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  14. Graham, L. R. (1973b). Science and philosophy in the Soviet Union. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  15. Guo, Y. (2014). The philosophy of science and technology in China: Political and ideological influences. Science & Education, 23(9), 1835–1844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Israel, J. I. (2001). Radical enlightenment: Philosophy and the making of modernity 1650–1750. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Israel, J. I. (2011). Democratic enlightenment: Philosophy, revolution, and human rights, 1750–1790. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Karchmer, E. (2002). Magic, science, and qigong in contemporary China. In S. D. Blum & L. M. Jensen (Eds.), China off center: Mapping the margins of the middle kingdom (pp. 311–322). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  19. Kelly, D. A. (1985). Controversies over the guiding role of philosophy over science. Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, 14, 21–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kelly, D. A. (1990). Chinese intellectuals in the 1989 democracy movement. In G. Hicks (Ed.), The broken mirror: China after Tiananmen (pp. 24–51). Chicago: St. James Press.Google Scholar
  21. King, G., Pan, J., & Roberts, M. (2013, May). How censorship in China allows government criticism but silences collective expression. American Political Science Review, 1–18.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055413000014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Knight, N. (2005). Marxist philosophy in China: From Qu Qiubai to Mao Zedong, 1923–1945. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  23. Kristof, N. D., & Wudunn, S. (1994). China awakes: The struggle for the soul of a rising power. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  24. Kwok, D. W. Y. (1965). Scientism in Chinese thought: 1900–1950. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Lemish, L. (2008, August 19). Why is Falun Gong banned. The Economist.Google Scholar
  26. Lenin, V. I. (1908/1970). Materialism and empirio-criticism: Critical comments on a reactionary philosophy (2nd ed.). Moscow: Progress Publishers.Google Scholar
  27. Li, H. (1999). Zhuan Falun. New York: The Universe Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  28. Lin, Z. X., Yu, L., Guo, Y. Z., Zhang, H. L., Shen, Z. Y., & Zhang, T. L. (2000). Qigong: Chinese medicine or pseudoscience? Amherst: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  29. MacFarquhar, R., & Schoenhals, M. (2006). Mao’s last revolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Matthews, M. R. (2015a). Science teaching: The contribution of history and philosophy of science: 20th anniversary revised and enlarged edition. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Miller, H. L. (1996). Science and dissent in post-Mao China: The politics of knowledge. Seattle: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  32. Minzer, C. (2018). End of an era: How China’s authoritarian revival is undermining its rise. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Nanda, M. (2005). The wrongs of the religious right: Reflections on science, secularism and Hindutva. New Delhi: Three Essays Collective.Google Scholar
  34. Orleans, L. A. (Ed.). (1980). Science in contemporary China. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Ownby, D. (2008). Falun Gong and the future of China. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Palmer, D. A. (2007). Qigong fever: Body, science, and utopia in China. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Paton, M. J. (2007). Feng shui: A continuation of the art of swindlers? Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 34(3), 427–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Penny, B. (2012). The religion of Falun Gong. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Polanyi, M. (1958). Personal Knowledge. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  40. Porter, R., & Teich, M. (Eds.). (1981). The enlightenment in national context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Ruse, M. (Ed.). (1988). But is it science? The philosophical question in the creation/evolution controversy. Albany: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  42. Shapiro, J. (2001). Mao’s war against nature: Politics and environment in revolutionary China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Shirk, S. L. (2007). China: The fragile superpower. Oxford: Oxford University Press. HAVE.Google Scholar
  44. Slack, G. (2007). The battle over the meaning of everything: Evolution, intelligent design, and a school board in Dover, PA. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  45. Tang, Y. (2015c). The enlightenment and its difficult journey in China. In Y. Tang (Ed.), Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity and Chinese culture (pp. 279–284). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  46. Tang, Y. (2015d). On the clash and coexistence of human civilizations. In Y. Tang (Ed.), Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity and Chinese culture (pp. 291–307). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  47. Tang, Y. (2015e). Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity and Chinese culture. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tristram, H. (Ed.). (1952). The idea of a liberal education: A selection from the works of Newman. London: Harrap.Google Scholar
  49. Wei, J. (1997). Fifth modernization. InThe courage to stand alone: Letters from prison and other writings (pp. 208–210). New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  50. Weisheipl, J. A. (1968). The revival of Thomism as a Christian philosophy. In R. M. McInerny (Ed.), New themes in Christian philosophy (pp. 164–185). South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  51. Xu, L. (1981/1996). Essay on the role of science and democracy in society. In F. Dainian & R. S. Cohen (Eds.), Chinese studies in the history and philosophy of science and technology (pp. 5–11). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  52. Zeidler, D. L., & Sadler, T. D. (Eds.). (2008). Social and ethical issues in science education. Special Issue of Science & Education, 17(8–9), 799–803.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Matthews
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations