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Re-thinking nursing science through the understanding of Buddhism

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Western thought has dominated scientific development for a long time, and nursing has not escaped the influence of such ideology. Nurse scholars, in an attempt to fit the dominant scientific ideology, typically have had to struggle with non-empirical elements of nursing. This orientation in science, however, may have contributed inadvertently to a form of scientific ethnocentrism in the culture of inquiry in nursing as in other fields. The result has been a narrow view of science and knowledge and failure to recognize the potential significance of Eastern philosophy in nursing knowledge development. Recently, intensive cultural exchanges between the East and the West have contributed to Western scientists becoming aware of the limits of Western linear thinking and concomitant efforts to explore the mysteries of Eastern philosophy. In this article, we explore Buddhism as one example of such philosophies that have great potential to enrich nursing as it continues to strive for definition and identity.

Keywords: Buddhism; Chinese; Eastern and Western culture; ideology; nursing; nursing thought; philosophy; religion; science

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2002


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