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The Crafting of the 10,000 ThingsKnowledge and Technology in Seventeenth-Century China$
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Dagmar Schafer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226735849

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226735856.001.0001

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Formulating the Transformation

Formulating the Transformation

(p.175) Chapter 5 Formulating the Transformation
The Crafting of the 10,000 Things
University of Chicago Press

This chapter deals with the subtle interlocking of erudition and empiricism in Song Yingxing's writings. It explores how Song carefully adjusted his schemes and analyzed observational method to argue the world into rational schemes. Reading the descriptions in Works of Heaven together with Song's exemplifications on yang fire qi in On Qi exposed that Song grounded his distinction of the two appearances of the yang fire agent on man's sensory abilities: the flames; heat; and gas. The transformations man recognized as growth and decay depended on the qi involved. He determined ashes as a vital condition of qi, inherent in some things and affairs in nature. He found flaws in his thesis of a universal qi, introducing particles and ashes to mend the matrix of qi he had determined. His observations of natural phenomena and material inventiveness within his endeavor were directed by his belief in the universality of qi.

Keywords:   Song Yingxing, Works of Heaven, qi, On Qi, yang, flames, heat, gas, ashes, natural phenomena

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