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.”
So there may be a foolish consistency as well as a false logic. A rogue may be as good a formal 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 as consistent, from the standpoint of formal logic, as the homoeopath who gives only minimum doses of the single similar remedy. It all depends upon the premises. Each of these can and does take his stand against his opponents on the ground that he is “logical.” His conclusions are consistent with his premises; and there we have the psychology 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 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 classification and generalizations and spin theories, we must be sure that we have all the essential facts. The induction must be complete, without break from premise to conclusion. We must not reason from an 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 is what we mean when we say that homoeopathy is a product of the Inductive Philosophy. Not only are the conclusions of homoeopathy consistent with its premises but its premises are true; for the principles of homoeopathy have been deduced according to the strictest rules of logical generalization, from full data, derived from direct observation of facts and pure experimentation. Every one of its processes, from the conduct of a proving to the making of a curative prescription, is governed by the principles of Inductive as well as Deductive Logic.
The purpose of this paper is not to instruct instruct the readers in the elements of logic, but simply to define and point out some of the more general relations of Logic to homoeopathy and its various processes, and to call attention to the great advantage that accrues to the physician who deliberately and systematically uses the methods of inductive logic in his daily work.
The Inductive Method in Science is the application of the principles of inductive logic to scientific research. This method was developed by Lord Bacon and set forth in his Novum Organum. It was further developed by John Stuart Mill in his great System of Logic. It has been the inspiration, the basis and the instrument of every modern science, including homoeopathy.
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 cause 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 causes of anything may proceed according to any one of four methods: (I) The method of agreement, in which a condition uniformly present in 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 its condition is absent, lead to he 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 causal 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 remember is held to be due to some other unascertained cause or to the known remaining causes.” (Standard Dictionary.)