Springer Verlag (2019)

Michael Robert Matthews
University of New South Wales
This book provides a richly documented account of the historical, cultural, philosophical and practical dimensions of feng shui. It argues that where feng shui is entrenched educational systems have a responsibility to examine its claims, and that this examination provides opportunities for students to better learn about the key features of the nature of science, the demarcation of science and non-science, the characteristics of pseudoscience, and the engagement of science with culture and worldviews. The arguments presented for feng shui being a pseudoscience can be marshalled when considering a whole range of comparable beliefs and the educational benefit of their appraisal. Feng shui is a deeply-entrenched, three-millennia-old system of Asian beliefs and practices about nature, architecture, health, and divination that has garnered a growing presence outside of Asia. It is part of a comprehensive and ancient worldview built around belief in chi the putative universal energy or life-force that animates all existence, the cosmos, the solar system, the earth, and human bodies. Harmonious living requires building in accord with local chi streams; good health requires replenishment and manipulation of internal chi flow; and a beneficent afterlife is enhanced when buried in conformity with chi directions. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the proper manipulation of internal chi by acupuncture, tai-chi and qigong exercise, and herbal dietary supplements. Matthews has produced another tour de force that will repay close study by students, scientists, and all those concerned to understand science, culture, and the science/culture nexus. Harvey Siegel, Philosophy, University of Miami, USA With great erudition and even greater fluidity of style, Matthews introduces us to this now-world-wide belief system. Michael Ruse, Philosophy, Florida State University, USA The book is one of the best research works published on Feng Shui. Wang Youjun, Philosophy, Shanghai Normal University, China The history is fascinating. The analysis makes an important contribution to science literature. James Alcock, Psychology, York University, Canada This book provides an in-depth study of Feng Shui in different periods, considering its philosophical, historical and educational dimensions; especially from a perspective of the ‘demarcation problem’ between science and pseudoscience. Yao Dazhi, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Buy this book $79.19 new (21% off)   $83.88 used (16% off)   $87.01 from Amazon (13% off)   Amazon page
ISBN(s) 978-3-030-18821-4   978-3-030-18822-1   3030188213   3030188248   303018823X   9783030188214
DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-18822-1
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,714
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
Chapters BETA
Concluding Remarks

Feng shui is pseudoscientific. The key elements of science – content, methodology, experiment, mathematization, theoretical and conceptual growth and refinement, and social organization – are present only as simulacrums. Unfortunately, the feng shui and qigong communities do not have a monopoly on t... see more

Feng Shui as Pseudoscience

Given the extent of feng shui belief, and the personal, social, cultural, and economic impact that it has, everyone can benefit from judging its scientificity. Efforts to distinguish science from non-science, the original ‘demarcation problem’, have been pursued since at least David Hume’s assertion... see more

Scientific Testing of Chi Claims

Feng shui energy is yet to be identified and measured in any reputable laboratory. There have been some embryonic steps towards scientific validation of chi claims. Of special interest were those made by Dr Yan Xin, a former TCM practitioner who had worked in or visited different Chinese and US univ... see more

The Science and Teaching of Energy

Energy is the central conceptual component of modern science – all modern science, not just physics. A prominent example of the development of a chi-like ‘science’ in Europe was that promoted by the German physician Franz Anton Mesmer. In 1784, Louis XVI established a Royal Commission, chaired by Be... see more

Joseph Needham on Feng Shui and Traditional Chinese Science

Joseph Needham was the greatest and most influential twentieth-century student of premodern Chinese science. In his multivolume Science and Civilisation in China . Science and civilisation in China . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.), he exhaustively documented the interplay of science, techno... see more

Feng Shui, Science, and Politics in Contemporary China

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 , philosophical , and scientific arguments advanced by the Enlightenment thin... see more

Science, Westernization, and Feng Shui in Early Twentieth-Century China

Since the 1911 overthrow of the Manchu dynasty and the creation of modern political China, each generation has grappled with issues about the maintenance of Chinese culture, specifically its mixed Confucian/Daoist traditions, alongside the modernization of society. It is useful to put this ‘feng shu... see more

Ernst Johann Eitel: A Nineteenth-Century Appraisal of Feng Shui

Ernest Johann Eitel was a sinologist and linguist; a German Lutheran missionary whose thesis on Chinese Buddhism gained him a doctoral degree at the University of Tübingen; he went in 1870 to Hong Kong and lived there for many years overseeing educational enterprises, before travelling widely within... see more

Matteo Ricci: A Sixteenth-Century Appraisal of Feng Shui

Matteo Ricci was one of the first Europeans to give an informed and detailed appraisal of feng shui belief and practice in China. Ricci died in 1610 in Beijing where his grave is still maintained and respected. The centrality of science for the Jesuit Chinese mission has been recognized from the out... see more

Feng Shui and Traditional Chinese Medicine

The defining basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine is identification and mastery of chi and hence the enabling of the balance of the vital yin and yang ‘forces’ inside the body. TCM considers sickness or pain to be a result of chi blockage and/or unbalanced chi in the body. All TCM therapies – herba... see more

Feng Shui Practice

Feng shui was never just a speculative or metaphysical worldview, from the beginning, it was connected to practice; it impinged on all features of life. In China, for at least 3000 years, feng shui in one form or another has dictated major commercial and domestic siting and construction decisions as... see more

Feng Shui and Chi

Before its segueing into a fully-fledged metaphysical cosmology, feng shui was merely the collective, passed-down of Chinese and other Asian cultures that needed to attend to environmental realities in order to sow, harvest, herd, and build houses, tombs, and villages; and live safely with whatever ... see more

The Cultural Contribution of Science Education

Feng shui makes claims about the constitution and processes of the natural world, including causal influences on people’s physical and mental health, that are in opposition to established scientific knowledge. These claims should be scientifically examined. Since the eighteenth century Enlightenment... see more


Feng shui has medical, health, architecture, construction, design, and divination components. It is part of a widespread, long-standing, deeply entrenched Asian view of life, nature, and the world. Feng shui has long migrated from Asia and has an increasing international presence. Feng shui is but o... see more

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

SÖZDE-BİLİMSEL KONULAR.Oktay Kızkapan - 2021 - Ankara, Türkiye: Pegem Akademi.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

An Introduction to Feng Shui.Ole Bruun - 2008 - Cambridge University Press.
Jurus Sakti Berdagang Dengan Feng Shui Jawa.Handri Raharjo - 2010 - Distributor Tunggal, Buku Kita.
Is Sociobiology a Pseudoscience?R. Paul Thompson - 1980 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:363 - 370.
The Social Psychology of “Pseudoscience”: A Brief History.Arthur Still & Windy Dryden - 2004 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 34 (3):265-290.


Added to PP index

Total views
11 ( #836,114 of 2,462,595 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #223,459 of 2,462,595 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes