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The concept of human microcosm: Exploring possibilities of a synthesis of traditional and modern biomedicine

Bakar, Osman (2022) The concept of human microcosm: Exploring possibilities of a synthesis of traditional and modern biomedicine. In: Islam and Biomedicine. Philosophy and Medicine, 137 (1). Springer Cham, pp. 63-77. ISBN 978-3-030-53800-2

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The idea of human microcosm as understood in traditional Islamic civilisation is important to its natural theology, but it is also known to have found scientific applications in many branches of knowledge, including medicine. In the light of the traditional definition of human microcosm that depicts it as a hierarchical but integrated living system with constituent parts similar to those of the rest of the universe, this paper proposes to identify some of the most essential elements and features of this system, which together have gone to form the foundation of traditional “biomedicine.” The three most important constituent parts of the traditional human microcosm are the body, the soul (nafs), and the spirit (ruh). In traditional Islamic science attempts were made to harmonise between the theological and scientific approaches to the formulation and understanding of the interrelationships linking these three microcosmic entities. The two approaches were held to be complementary to each other. This paper will try to formulate the biological dimension of these microcosmic interrelationships and its implications for medicine as may be gathered from the traditional literature on the subject. The concept of human microcosm thus understood that was viewed as bearing a certain “relationship of correspondence” with its macrocosmic counterpart was found to have given a further insight into what the correspondence could mean for biomedical issues, especially when the correspondence was formulated at the biological level. The mechanistic and “atomistic” approach to the treatment of the human body in modern and postmodern biomedicine is seen to be in sharp contrast to the holistic and qualitative approach of traditional Islamic biomedicine. However, while the two approaches clearly differ from each other in both their fundamental assumptions and their methods of study, they are not necessarily irreconcilable. Furthermore, the two biomedicines have their respective merits and virtues that are worth defending. The paper intends to explore the issue of whether it is possible to pursue an epistemological agenda of synthesis of some sort of traditional Islamic and modern and postmodern biomedicines and what the tentatively conceived synthesis would entail.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: 8757/81247
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human microcosm; traditional biomedicine; modern biomedicine; body; soul (nafs); spirit (ruh); macrocosmic; epistemology; synthesis; atomistic approach.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc > BP134.S3 Quran and Science
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC)
Depositing User: Prof Dr Osman Bakar
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2023 16:02
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2023 16:07
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/102797

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