The Logic Of Homoeopathy

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.


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.)

Before Lord Bacons time, logic was used principally as an instrument for argument and disputation. Little or no attention was given to facts. Directed 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 restored 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 the unattempted way.” (Nov. Org. Axiom, 19.)

As induction is the antonym of deduction is 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 conclusion; two modes of using the same general process, namely, inference, or inferring.

All reasoning is reference, 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 happens around us, and, by proper reasoning, we may discover the laws of nature in consequence of which they happen.

In Inductive reasoning we do the opposite, and inter what will happen in consequence of the laws.

Reasoning a priori and a posterior 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 to consequents; in the other from consequents to antecedents.

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 afterwards 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 gave 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, offhand, to reply correctly, “clothes.” This does not imply that they were ignorant of logic, but merely that they were not accustomed to consciously using the principle of generalization in their ordinary thinking. Hence, they were dull and slow to grasp its significance and importance as a practical method in their daily work.

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; for if this principle were not true, then forty thousand instances of water boiling would not prove that another case would happen. But now I know will 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 a 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 was the cause of the boiling in the instance observed.”

“The proposition that all reasoning is deductive may be proved by a similar argument using another intuitive principle – no event happens 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 from particulars to generals.”

“Reasoning by analogy proceeds in the same way, the difference 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 judgment 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 again.”

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

“It is province of psychology to explain under what circumstances these primary ideas are given by the senses, 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.”

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 things they see. But reason is the minds 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 power of man. 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 the bad reasoning which every day betrays people into error and misfortune.”

Examination 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; Paracelsus, in the sixteenth century, and others, was conceived by Hahnemann to be the general law of medicinal action.

With this general conception as a starting point, Hahnemann began to investigate. He reasoned that if there was any truth in the proposition that “disease are cured by medicines 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 effects, since a healthy person would be the only kind 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 homoeopath knows, he began to experiment with “good cinchona bark” upon himself, that drug having been suggested to him while he was translating Cullens work on materia medica, in which his theory was strikingly confirmed by repeated experiments, he then search medical literature for records of poisonings and accidental cures. Collecting these, as a basis for further experiment and corroboration, he enlisted the aid of few students and physicians and continued his experiments upon the healthy, carefully recording and classifying all the phenomena elicited, and verifying them in the sick as he had opportunity.

After several years of this inductive 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 Hahnemanns chief contribution to science. He was the first to make a complete induction of medical facts, deduce legitimately therefrom the general law of therapeutic medication, and establish the art of healing by medication upon a sound basis.

Thus we see that although Hahnemanns 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. Walk a mile each day to keep the doctor away, advises the United States Public Health Service. Try walking to work every morning and see if it doesnt make you younger and healthier.

Stuart Close
Stuart Close