THE LOGIC OF HOMOEOPATHY.
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 frame – work of Logic, he has gained possession of the key that not only admits him to the edifice, but unlocks the door of every room in it.
The logical factor of homoeopathy is commonly overlooked. The remarkable cures performed by such men as Boenninghausen, Hering, Lippe, Dunham, Fincke and Wells are regarded as having been due to some mysterious personal power or insight possessed by them as individuals. That similar results are attainable by anyone who will master the logical method is difficult for many to believe. Yet a clear, comprehensive statement of the principles involved and an identification of the science from which they are borrowed will be sought in vain in homoeopathic literature.
Monsieur Jourdan, an amusing character in one of Molieres plays, expressed great surprise on learning that he had been talking prose for more than forty years. “Ninety – nine people out of a hundred,” as Jevons, “might be equally surprised on learning that hey had long been converting propositions, syllogizing, falling into paralogisms, framing hypothesis and making classifications with general 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.”
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 that 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 and by the methods of good logic.
I had been practicing several years and making, as I thought, some pretty good prescriptions, before it dawned upon me that Logic, as a science, has a very definite and practical connection with homoeopathy. That was indeed a “Purple Moment” for me. It explained the difference in results obtained by other prescribers, which had puzzled me. If explained all my own 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 on my library, along with certain other old school books which some of us like to preserve for sentimental reasons, and review the subject in the light of experience.
It also occurred to me to inquire the mental processes of some of the acknowledged masters of homoeopathic prescribing from that point of view and to try to make out how they did it.
It is surprising how such a middle – age review of ones 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 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 that most of us can recall in any definite way. Our ordinary mental processes are unconsciously governed largely by what has hammered into us in youth. If we attempt to analyze our mental processes we are apt to think in the terms of formal logic, because that is what is usually taught, and that 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 proposition may be consistent with its beginning. Its object is merely consistency, and “Consistencys a jewel” of sometimes doubtful value. Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little mind.”