The logical principle which underlie homoeopathic prescriber are commonly overlooked. Apparently there are almost as many methods of prescribing as there are prescribers. The remarkable cures performed by such men as Boenninghausen, Lippe, Dunham and Wells are commonly regarded as having been due to some mysterious power possessed by them as individuals. That similar results are attainable by anyone who will master the method is difficult for many to believe; yet a clear and comprehensive statement of the principles involved and an identification of the source from which they are drawn will be sought in vain in homoeopathic literature.
As a rule, only personal opinions and fragmentary statements by individuals of how they did or thought they did their prescribing will be found, and these are scattered through a voluminous literature, much of which is out of print and difficult of access. They indicate, however that there is a basic method somewhere, it only it can be found and identified.
Reviewing these collected bits of personal teaching and experience creates an impression that their authors were either unaware, perhaps through forgetfulness, of the nature of the principles they were using; or that they took it for granted that the student already possessed the requisite knowledge. They did not seem to realize the educational value and importance to the student of being able to identify and consciously use an unnamed science which is fundamentally related to medicine, and especially to homoeopathy; for they certainly did not name it nor definitely refer to it. This is not so strange or unusual as it may seem.
Monsieur Jourdain, an amusing character in one of Moliere’s plays, expressed great surprise on learning that he had been *talking prose for more than forty years.
“Ninety-nine people out of a hundred,” says Jevons, “might be equally surprised on learning that they had long been converting propositions, syllogizing, falling into paralogisms, framing hypotheses and making classifications with genera and species. If asked whether they were logicians they would probably answer, No! They would be partly right; for I believe that a large number even of educated persons have no clear idea of what logic is. Yet, in a certain way, everyone must have been a logician since he began to speak. * * * All people are logicians in some manner or degree; but unfortunately many persons are bad ones, and suffer harm in consequence.” Hence the necessity of books and essays on logic.
It is equally true that ninety-nine homoeopathic physicians out of a hundred might be surprised on learning that they had been using logic good or bad, in every prescription they ever made.
They might be still more surprised on learning homoeopathy itself is founded and constructed upon logical principles; and that all its processes may and if they are to be correctly and efficiently performed must, be conducted under the principles by the methods of good logic.
It was very stupid to me. of course, but I had been practicing homoeopathy a good many years and making, I thought, some pretty good prescriptions, before it dawned upon me in any definite way that logic as a science had any technical connection with homoeopathic prescribing. It was a “purple moment” for me when I made that discovery.. It explained all my good prescriptions and accounted for all my bad ones which, of course, outnumbered the good ones ten to one. It opened up possibilities of improving my methods and bringing the percentage of cures a little more in my favor.
If the making of a good prescription, a good examination, or a good diagnosis depended upon a correct application of the principles of logic, I saw that it behooved me to get down my old textbooks on logic, long before relegated to an upper shelf in my library, along with certain other old school books which some of us like to preserve for sentimental reasons, and refresh my memory by a review of the subject in the light of experience.
It also occurred to me to examine into the mental processes of acknowledged masters of the art of homoeopathic prescribing from that point of view and try to make out how they did it.
It is surprising how such a middle-age review of one’s youthful studies will sometimes dispel delusions long fondly held.
How many, for example recall and realize the practical bearing of the fact that the science of logic exists in two parts- the logic of form and the logic of reality or truth; or technically, Pure or Formal Logic and Inductive Logic.