Feng Shui: Teaching About Science and Pseudoscience

  • Michael R. Matthews

Part of the Science: Philosophy, History and Education book series (SPHE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Feng Shui: Educational Responsibilities and Opportunities

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Michael R. Matthews
      Pages 3-12
    3. Michael R. Matthews
      Pages 13-39
  3. Feng Shui: Its Theory and Practice

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 41-41
    2. Michael R. Matthews
      Pages 43-63
    3. Michael R. Matthews
      Pages 65-90
    4. Michael R. Matthews
      Pages 91-112
  4. Feng Shui: A Historical-Philosophical Narrative

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 113-113
    2. Michael R. Matthews
      Pages 177-192
  5. Feng Shui: Considerations from Philosophy of Science

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 193-193
    2. Michael R. Matthews
      Pages 215-247
    3. Michael R. Matthews
      Pages 249-268
    4. Michael R. Matthews
      Pages 269-289
  6. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 291-291
    2. Michael R. Matthews
      Pages 293-298
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 299-340

About this book


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 (qi) 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


history of Feng Shui Pseudoscience Origin of Feng Shui Feng Shui in Teaiwan Chang Tsai geomancy Matteo Ricci Ernst Johann Eitel Chinese Proto-Science The Five Elements Feng Shui and Western Science Feng Shui as Pseudoscience traditional Chinese medicine Feng shui theory and practice Feng shui belief feng shui in education alternative science cultural modernization in twentieth century China cultural health Science Education

Authors and affiliations

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

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Education Education (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-18821-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-18822-1
  • Series Print ISSN 2520-8594
  • Series Online ISSN 2520-8608
  • Buy this book on publisher's site