Schools of Philosophy

Schools of Philosophy like Materialism, Idealism and Substantialism are discussed along with Hahnemann’s approach and view point….

It will be well to take a glance at the various schools of philosophy in order to be able to understand his point of view and identify the fundamental ideas and concepts out of which Hahnemann developed his system.

The various schools of philosophy may be broadly classified as materialistic, idealistic and substantialistic.

Materialism.- ” The doctrine that the facts of experience are all to be explained by reference to the reality, activities and laws of physical or material substance. In psychology this doctrine denies the reality of the soul as psychology this doctrine denies the reality of the soul as psychical being; in cosmology, it denies the need of assuming the being of God as Absolute Spirit or any other spiritual ground or first principle; opposed to spiritualism. Materialistic theories have varied from the first, but the most widely accepted from regards all species of sentiment and mental life as *products of organism, and the universe itself as resolvable into terms of physical elements and their motions.” (standard Dictionary.)

Here we should consider for a moment the meaning of the words “reality” and “substance”. The “dyed in the wool” materialist regards nothing as real and substantial which has not *tangibility. He reduces everything to the terms of physical matter, which is for him the only reality. If he use the words, energy, power, force, motion, principle, law, mind life or through, which represent intangible things, it is to regard them merely as attributes, conditions or products of matter. For him the things represented are neither real or substantial. They exist, as it were, only in the imagination. Because they are not tangible they are not real. Not being real, according to his way of looking at things, they are not substantial and therefore, are not worthy of consideration. The fact that he is compelled to act as if they were real makes no difference in his mental attitude. He refuses to admit their existence as any thing but properties of matter.

The unfortunate thing about this philosophy is that it seems to induce and foster a peculiarly irritating, skeptical, antagonistic and unscientific frame of mind toward many things which others feel and known in their in most consciousness to be very real indeed ideas which are the source and substance of their deepest convictions, highest aspirations and most illuminating conceptions. This attitude may and often does become offensive in the extreme, largely because it is so one-sided, and those who hold it refuse so obstinately to “call things by their right names” To the broader and more philosophic mind the intangible, invisible energy, power principle, law or intelligence is as real and as substantial as the material things which it creates and controls and should be so denominated in all frankness and sincerity.

Idealism.– “That system of reflective thinking which would interpret and explain the whole universe, things and minds and their relations, as the realization of a system of ideas. It takes various forms as determined by the view of what the idea or the ideal is, and of how we become aware of it. (*Vide.)

Substantialism. – The doctrine that substantial existences or real beings are the sources or underlying ground of all phenomena, mental and material; especially the doctrine which denies that the conception of material substance can be resolved into mere centers of force”. (*Vide.)

The fundamental idea of Substantialism is ancient, but the systematic development and application of it is modern.

“The predominant thought of substantialism is that all things in Nature which exist or can form the basis of a concept are really substantial entities, whether they are the so-called principles or forces of nature or the atoms of corporeal bodies, even extending to the life and mental powers of every sentient organism, from the highest to the lowest. (Hall.)

It holds, for example, that the “Wave theory” of sound is a fallacy in science. Hall experimentally established the fact that;- “Sound consists of corpuscular emissions and is therefore a substantial entity, as much so as air or odor.” He argues; – “If sound can be proved to be a substance there cannot be the shadow of a scientific objection raised against the substantial or entitative nature of life and the mental powers”. From this point of view, mind is as real in its existence as is the physical brain, which is regarded as the tangible manifestation of the form and substance of its invisible counterpart.

“If mind is the result of the motion of the molecules of the brain, of what does that result consist? If the motion of the molecules is the all of mind, then the mind is nothing, a nonentity, since motion itself is a nonentity”. (Hall.)

From nothing, nothing comes. Every effect proceeds from a cause. Effects follow causes in unbroken succession.

No substantial effect can be produced upon any subject without an absolute substance of some kind connecting the cause with the effect.

Gravity, or that which produces gravitation, is a substance, since it acts upon physical objects at a distance and causes substantial physical effects.

Magnetism is a substance, since it passes through imporous bodies, seizes upon and moves iron.

Sound is a substance, since it is conveyed through space by air waves”. It must be something substantial or it could not be conveyed.

Light, heat and (or) electricity are is substantial (They may be identical.) It is absurd to call them “modes of motion” or “vibratory phenomena”, Motion is a non-entity, the mere act of a thing in changing its position in space. Motion is nothing before and object begin to move, and nothing after it has ceased to move. Modern science teaches that light and heat are motions or vibrations of *the ether.

Physical science, therefore, tacitly teaches that the ether is substantial; has measured it; has calculated its inertia-coefficient and its kinetic energy; has pronounced it to be the primary substance of which matter as well as heat, light and electricity, is composed. If science is right in this theory then light, heat and electricity are substantial emanations from their producing bodies or substances; in other words they are each composed of ether, *varying in its rate of vibration. But physical science (materialism) does not tell us *who or *what moves the ether and determines that rate of vibration. That remains for substantialism, which teaches that Life is *a substance, having, the qualities of a real entitative being. By its agency alone organized, living, conscious, thinking, willing entities are created, maintained and reproduced. Hence, Life is intelligent, else it could not manifest these qualities.

Mind is a substance, since it acts to think or produce thoughts and things. Mind, therefore, has intelligence. Thought-the action of mind-may be called “a mode of motion of mind, acting upon the molecules of the brain”. In the last analysis *life and mind are one and identical, since they have identical qualities and attributes, and Mind (Syn: life, Spirit) is the primary cause of motion. *Life is energy, and all energy is living energy.

As regards living beings, including man, the substantialistic hypothesis is: “that within every living creature the exists a vital and mental organism, the (invisible) counterpart of the physical structure, the source of all vital and physiological phenomena, originally contributed by the Creative Will (Mind-Life Spirit) as atoms out of His own being, and which must at the dissolution of organic life return to the vital and mental fountain whence they emanated, there to mingle by reabsorption into the original source, or as in the case of those (human) lives which have received the spiritual impress of God’s image, live forever with the self-conscious ego inherited through their higher organism”. (Hall.)

Hahnemann’s Position. – Hahnemann has heretofore been assigned to the Idealists. In an attempt to be more definite he has been called a “Vitalist”, referring to the prominence given in the Organon to the doctrine of life and vital force.

In advance of the appearance of substantialism as a formulated philosophy and a name, this was perhaps the best that could be done in the attempt to classify Hahnemann philosophically. But since a definite philosophy has been formulated there can be no question that he is properly classified as a Substantialism. His position and statements in regard to the Deity; to life, mind, vital force, matter, potentization (or dynamization), infinitesimals, and the emphasis he lays upon the substantial character of these (to him) great realities do not fully agree with any other classification. Hahnemann frankly and reverently recognizes The Supreme Being, as indeed every scientific man must do who thinks logically straight through to the end. Otherwise all thought ends in negation.

Hahnemann’s constant appeal to experience, to facts of observation and experiment, and to the necessity in medicine of avoiding speculation of all kinds, establishes the practical, well-balanced character of his mind. He refused to speculate about the essential nature of things. He observed and accepted the facts of existence as he saw them. To him, spirit and matter, force and motion, mind and body, health and disease, in all their mutations and modifications, *co-exist as facts of observation, consciousness and experience. It was for him to use them in a logical and practical manner.

Stuart Close
Stuart M. Close (1860-1929)
Dr. Close was born November 24, 1860 and came to study homeopathy after the death of his father in 1879. His mother remarried a homoeopathic physician who turned Close's interests from law to medicine.

His stepfather helped him study the Organon and he attended medical school in California for two years. Finishing his studies at New York Homeopathic College he graduated in 1885. Completing his homeopathic education. Close preceptored with B. Fincke and P. P. Wells.

Setting up practice in Brooklyn, Dr. Close went on to found the Brooklyn Homoeopathic Union in 1897. This group devoted itself to the study of pure Hahnemannian homeopathy.

In 1905 Dr. Close was elected president of the International Hahnemannian Association. He was also the editor of the Department of Homeopathic Philosophy for the Homeopathic Recorder. Dr. Close taught homeopathic philosophy at New York Homeopathic Medical College from 1909-1913.

Dr. Close's lectures at New York Homeopathic were first published in the Homeopathic Recorder and later formed the basis for his masterpiece on homeopathic philosophy, The Genius of Homeopathy.

Dr. Close passed away on June 26, 1929 after a full and productive career in homeopathy.