By Anu Paavola
I was engaged once in an interesting conversation on herbs and their medicinal properties with someone who had just retired after a long career in a well-known pharmaceutical company. Although quite skeptical of alternative healing methods he was still curious to hear what ayurveda had to offer. One of the things he asked me was if ayurveda was empirical or was it based on a philosophy. He meant if it was a system of belief rather than something based on hard evidence. My answer to him was that ayurveda is both a system of belief and is based on hard evidence, just like modern science. But, there is a significant difference in the approach with which these two systems observe the universe.
The premise of modern science is that knowledge is an experience based on sensory perception. Empiricism is a theory where truth is verifiable by sensory…
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