The Logic of Homeopathy


Every one of homeopathy’s processes, from the conduct of the proving to the making of a curative prescription is governed by the principles of inductive as well as deductive logic….


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.

An outline of a few of the principal operations of formal logic is about all most of us can recall in any definite way. Our ordinary mental processes are governed largely by what was hammered into us in youth. If we try to analyze our mental processes we are likely to thinks in the terms of formal logic because formal logic is what is usually taught and formal logic is what sticks.

Now formal logic, with all its fascinating processes, takes no account of the * matter of our reasonings- of the things reasoned about. Formal logic deals solely with the form, or skeleton of the *reasoning itself. It does not concern itself in the least with the truth of falsity of a statement as a matter of fact or science. Its purpose is to provide the general or symbolic forms which reasoning must assume in order to insure that the end of a proposition may be constituent with its beginning.

Its objects is merely consistency, and “consistency’s a jewel” of sometimes doubtful value. Emerson wittily said : ” A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” So there may be a *foolish consistency as well as a *false logic. A rogue may be as good a logician as an honest man- perhaps a better; a quack may be as logical as the most ethical practitioner; and an allopath, who gives his massive doses of combined drugs upon empirical grounds, may be a consistent, from the standpoint of formal logic, as the homoeopath who gives only minimum doses of the single, similar remedy.

Each of these can and does take his stand against the world, on the ground that he is logical and consistent. His conclusions are consistent with his premises; and there you have the psychology of it, with the secret of the arrogance of the average medical man.

“He was in Logic a great critic, Profoundly skilled in analytic; He could distinguish and divide A hair “twist the south and southwest side.”

He does not know, nor wish to know what some of us may have learned and forgotten- that *Inductive Logic, the Logic of Bacon, mill and Hahnemann, has a higher function than the Logic of Aristotle, which exists and is used largely for the purpose of mere argumentation.

Inductive Logic does concern itself with facts, with reality. Its primary purpose is the discovery and use of *Truth.

The first requirement of Inductive Logic is that *the premises must be true, the result of true and valid observation of facts, based, if need be, upon pure experimentation.

Before we proceed to make deductions, classifications and generalizations and spin theories, we must be sure that we have reliable facts. The induction must be complete, without break from premise to conclusion. We may not reason from a hypothesis, nor jump to a conclusion as medical sophists do. We must follow the course laid down, and “keep in the middle of the road.” The road into the great unknown is dark and full of pitfalls for the unwary, but the electric lamp of inductive logic lights the way safely from the known into the unknown.

This is *The Logic of Homoeopathy. This what we mean when we say that homoeopathy is based upon the inductive philosophy. Not only are the conclusion of homoeopathy consistent with its premises, but its premises are founded upon Truth; for homoeopathy as a method is drawn logically, according to the strictest rules of inductive generalization, from data which have been derived from direct observation of facts and pure experimentation. Every one of its processes, from the conduct of the proving to the making of a curative prescription is governed by the principles of inductive as well as deductive logic.

The purpose of this part of the work is no to instruct the reader in the elements of logic, but simply to define and discuss some of the more general relations of logic to various processes of applied homoeopathy; and to point out the great advantage that accrues to the physician who consciously and definitely uses the methods of inductive logic in his daily work.

If the reader’s early education in formal logic has been deficient, it will be an easy matter for him to gain the requisite knowledge from any standard work on the subject.

*The inductive Method in Science is the application of the principles of inductive logic to scientific research. This method was originated by Lord Bacon, and set forth in his *Novum Organum. It was further developed by John Stuart Will in his great *System of Logic, It has been the inspiration the basis and the instrument of every modern science.

Inductive Logic Defined.- “The inductive Method in Logic is the scientific method that proceeds by induction. It requires (1) *exact observation; (2) *correct interpretation of the observed facts with a view to understanding them in relation to each other and to their causes; (3) *rational explanation of the facts by referring them to their real case or law; and (4) *scientific construction; putting the facts in such co-ordination that the system reached shall agree with the reality.”

“The search for the cause of anything may proceed according to any one of four methods: (1) the *method of agreement, in which a condition uniformly present is assumed to be probably a cause; (2) the *method of difference, in which the happening of an event when a condition is present, and its failure when a condition is absent, lead to the assumption of that condition as a cause; (3) the *method of concomitant variations, in which the simultaneous variation in similar degree of condition and event establishes a casual relation; and (4) the *method of residues or of residual variations, where after subtracting from a phenomenon the part due to causes already established the remainder is held due to some other unascertained cause or to the known remaining causes.” (F. &. W. Standard Dictionary.)

Before Lord Bacon’s time, logic was used principally as an instrument for argument and disputation. Little or no attention was given to facts. Direct and systematic investigation of nature was unknown or ignored. Opinions, speculations and theories were used as the material for constructing more opinions and theories. The search for truth ended nowhere.

Lord Bacon called upon men to cease speculating and go direct to nature in their search for truth. He demolished innumerable false systems and resorted logic to its true place as the guide to truth.

“There are and can exist,” says Bacon, “but two ways of investigating and discovering truth. The one hurries on rapidly from the senses and particulars to the most general axioms; and from them as principles and their supposed indisputable truth derives and discovers the intermediate axioms. This is the way now in use. The other constructs its axioms from the senses and particulars, by ascending continually and gradually, till it finally arrives at the most general axioms, which is the true but unattempted way.” (Nov. Org. Axiom 19.)

As induction in the antonym of deduction it has been supposed that the two processes are in some way antagonistic, This is an error. They are simply opposite ways of arriving at the same conclusions; two modes of using the same general process, namely : inference, or inferring.

All reasoning is inference, and in the last analysis all reasoning is deductive. By inductive reasoning we ascertain what is true of many different things our senses tell us what happen around us and by proper reasoning we may discover the laws of nature, in consequence of which they happen.

In deductive reasoning we do the opposite and infer what will happen in consequence of the laws.

Reasoning *a priori and *a posteriori are not different modes of reasoning, but arguments differing in the character of one of the premises. It is merely a difference of viewpoint. In one we reason from antecedents, in the other from consequents.

True says: “Logic is the science of inference; it teaches how one judgment may be inferred from other judgments. To reason is to infer, hence it is usually called the science of reasoning.”

“It assumes that every mind conceives intuitively some ideas or judgments which are at once primary and certain; otherwise we could have no foundation for inference; and to infer one idea or judgment from others would give no certainty.”

“These ideas are called first truths. They are given by the senses, the consciousness and the reason, and they are innumerable. *I exist. *There is an external world. *This body is solid, extended, round, red, warm or cold, are first truths.

“At first these ideas are particular, but afterward the mind unites those which are similar, or which agree in some respect, into classes. This is called generalization. To express this we no longer say this or that body; but body not coat shirt, trousers, etc.; but clothes.”

To test their qualifications in this respect, I once give a senior class of medical students a list of garments and asked them to generalize it: Only one man in a class of about thirty, was able, off-hand, to reply correctly-“clothes!”

To show that all reasoning is, in the last analysis, deductive, True uses the following illustrations : “I infer that heat in such a degree as will cause the mercury in the thermometer to rise to the point marked two hundred and twelve degrees Fahrenheit *will always cause water to boil; in other words, it is proved by induction to be a law of nature that two hundred and twelve degrees Fahrenheit will cause water to boil.

“Now the conclusion is not drawn from any number of instances of the boiling of water, but with a few instances combined with the principle *that like causes will produce like effects; if this principle were not true, then forty thousand instance of water boiling would not prove that another case would happen. But now I know like like causes will produce like effects, and I know by observation that two hundred and twelve degrees Fahrenheit did once or twice cause water to boil. Admit the premises and the conclusion is unavoidable; and to do this is simply to affirm something of a class, then to refer the individual to that class, and then to affirm the same thing of the individual.” ” Now the first premise is the *general principle, *which is intuitively true. The only question is about the second premise; namely: whether two hundred and twelve degrees was the cause of the boiling in the instances observed.”

“The proposition that all reasoning is deductive may be proved by a similar argument using another intuitive principle;- no event happen without a cause.

“Every case of induction proper proceeds upon the same grounds and in the same way. It is. therefore, evident that induction is no exception to the rule that *inference is always from generals to particulars, and not from particulars to generals.

“Reasoning by analogy proceeds in the same way; the differences is only in the character of the first premise, which is, that similar causes *are likely to produce similar effects, or that things that agree in certain attributes or relations are likely to agree in certain other attributes or relations.”

It is evident that, in order to reason, the mind must have some general ideas and judgments that are conceived intuitively, and not formed by mere addition or generalization; for nothing is gained by making a class of individuals or particulars and then drawing one or more out gain.

Some of the earliest are: Everybody is in space. No event happens without a cause. Like material causes produce like effects.

“It is the province of psychology to explain under what circumstances these primary ideas are given by the sense, the consciousness and the reason; but logic assumes their existence as the indispensable basis of inference, and its appropriate office is to explain in what way we infer one judgment from another.

*”The process of reasoning, when completed is found to be simply this: Something is predicated, that is, affirmed or denied of a class; an individual is affirmed to belong to this class, and then, of course the same thing can be affirmed or denied of that individual.”

When the student perceives that the foundation of homoeopathy is solid, *concrete, composed of the broken rock of hard facts, united by the *cement of a great natural principle, he has grasped one important phase of the subject. But when he raises his eyes to the superstructure and sees that it is joined to the foundation and held together in all its parts by a *framework of logic, he has grained possession of the key that not only admits him to the edifice, but unlocks the door of every room in it.

Jevons truly says: – “It is true that we cannot use our eyes or ears without getting some kind of knowledge, and the brute animals can do the same. *But what gives power is the deeper knowledge called Science. People may see, and hear, and feel all their lives without really learning the nature of the things they see. But reason is the mind’s eye and enables us to see why things are, and when and how events may be made to happen or not to happen.The logician endeavors to learn exactly what this reason is which makes the power of men. We all must reason well, or ill, but logic is the science of reasoning and enables us to distinguish between the good reasoning that leads to the truth, and to bad reasoning which every day betrays people into error and misfortune.”

Hence the value and need to the physician of the study of inductive logic as a distinct science.

Analysis of the *Organon of Hahnemann, as well as of the history of homoeopathy and the life of its founder, shows clearly that homoeopathy is a product of inductive logic applied to the subject of medicine, It is, in fact the first as well as one of the most brilliant examples of the application of the inductive method to the solution of one of the greatest problems of humanity; namely, the treatment and cure of disease.

Its basic, principle, the law of similars, dimly perceived and tentatively stated in various forms or referred to as a possible therapeutic law by Hippocrates, Nicander, Xenocrates, of the Greek schools; Varro, Quintus Serenus, Celsus and Galen of the Roman schools; Basil Valentine, a Benedictine Monk of Erfurt, 1410; Paracelus in the sixteenth century and other, was conceived by Hahnemann to be the general law of medical action.

With this conception as a starting point Hahnemann began to investigate. He reasoned that if there was any truth in the proposition that “diseases are cured by medicine that have the power to excite a *similar affection,” the only way to determine it scientifically would be to give a medicine to a healthy person and observe the effects, since a healthy person would be the only king of a person in whom *an affection similar to disease could be excited.

This would give a scientific basis, and indeed the only possible basis, for a comparison between the symptoms of drugs and the symptoms of disease.

Accordingly, as every homoeopathist knows, he began to experiment with “good cinchona bark” upon himself, that drug having been suggested to him while was translating Cullen’s work on materia medica, where it was highly recommended as a cure for intermittent fever. Finding his theory strikingly confirmed by repeated experiments, he began to search medical literature for records of poisoning and accidental cures.Collecting these as a basis for further experiment and corroboration, he enlisted the aid of a few students and physicians and continued his experiments upon the healthy, carefully recording all the phenomena elicited and verifying them in the sick he had opportunity.

After several years of this work he had a collection of reliable drug phenomena so large and comprehensive that he felt he could complete the induction and independently and authoritatively formulate the general principle which he had so long been working to establish.

This is Hahnemann’s chief contribution to science. He was the first to make a comprehensive induction of medical facts, deduce therefrom the general law of therapeutic medication and establish healing by medication upon a sound basis.

Thus we see that although Hahnemann’s primary conception was one of those rare flashes of insight or intuition vouchsafed only to transcendent genius, it was subsequently developed by logical reasoning and confirmed by a series of elaborate experiments extending over a period of many years, before it was published to the world.

When the relation of these facts to the practice of homoeopathy is perceived it is evident that in logic the homoeopathic physician has, or may have the means not only of conducting his daily work with ease and facility, but of solving his most difficult and important problems; *for the logical process by which homoeopathy was worked out and built up is applicable in every concrete case a homoeopathic physician is called upon to treat, The principles are the same with each case. The examination of a patient or a prover; the analysis of the mass of symptoms derived from such an examination; the classification of symptoms for any purpose; the selection of the remedy and the diagnosis of the disease are all properly conducted under the rules and by the methods of applied logic.

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.