PHILOSOPHY VERSUS EMPIRICISM


PHILOSOPHY VERSUS EMPIRICISM. This is philosophic law versus empiricism in action. Man may gather facts from many observations over long periods of time and in many places, but until he arranges and classifies and correlates them and traces their origins back to their causations he will obtain little good from such observations.


Philosophy as defined by Websters Dictionary has several definitions. First: “The knowledge of phenomena as explained by, and resolved into, causes and reasons, powers and laws.” Second: “A systematic body of general conceptions or principles ordinarily with implication of their practical application as, a philosophy of life.” Third: “Practical wisdom, calmness of temper and judgment, equanimity.” Fourth: “A treatise on Philosophy.”.

Empiricism, defined by the same author, has first: “Method or practice of an empiric, especially in medicine, hence quackery.” Second: “The philosophical theory which attributes the origin of all our knowledge to experience.”.

From the above expressed dicta we can see that those who work along with philosophic principles and laws are able to arrive at definite conclusions and results which make for satisfaction and success because they prevent accidents and errors. While those who follow the empiric practice along the thorny road of “trial and error” with no law or principle to guide them on their way must meet mostly disappointment and chagrin. All progress made by man has come by the light of philosophical laws.

No science can grow or expand without a sound philosophy as its foundation. How far would the neophyte and student in chemistry get in an amply supplied laboratory without the guidance that comes from a knowledge of the chemical affinities governing the union of the elements? Trial and error or empiricism would soon bring him to grief, if not destruction. In medicine more that in any other field, is the need for philosophic approach most urgent because medicines are agents fraught with power for good or evil according to the method of their preparation and application.

If they are given in too crude or toxic a form, and in an empirical way or on the theory of producing some specific effect in the organism such as cathartic, diuretic or analgesic action, or if given in ignorance or regardless of what harm may come to the patient, as a sequel remaining long after the specific action has passed for which the medicine was given, then the agents under such conditions are forces of evil and destruction. Most of the so called “wonder drugs” fall of evil and destruction. Most of the so called “wonder drugs” fall into this class: highly specific to overcome certain conditions but leaving a train of weakness and broken health as a sequela lasting over a considerable period of time.

Experience may teach that the analgesic coal tar drugs, barbiturates, etc., can dull the sense of pain for a time; while the philosophic science of homoeopathy knows that such action is not curative but harmful and suppressive, leaving in the wake of their administration suffering and weakness and even more or less serious changes in the normal elements of the blood.

Toxicology, the science of classifying and treating poisons, may enable us to avoid the dangers attendant upon their use.

But homoeopathy will teach us how to use for the benign purpose of cure these same death dealing agents that toxicology warns us against. Homoeopathy has proven that drugs can cure (when applied by homoeopathic technique and principles) the same symptoms and conditions they produce on the well when given in the crude toxic form.

This is philosophic law versus empiricism in action. Man may gather facts from many observations over long periods of time and in many places, but until he arranges and classifies and correlates them and traces their origins back to their causations he will obtain little good from such observations.

When such knowledge is classified and coordinated and traced to causes the results becomes science, which can be employed with certainty for mans use and benefit.

The poet says “knowledge comes but wisdom lingers.” Knowledge expresses empiricism or experience. Wisdom expresses philosophy, the gathering together and the scientific application of such knowledge for uses and development.

Thus we observe the contrast of empiricism versus philosophy in the application of drugs in the treatment of the sick. Then there are other differences to be noted more striking than what has gone before. The concepts of sickness itself are important and fundamental. Empiricism from the remotest times to the present has had changing views of sickness and its origin.

In earlier times apart from physical injuries, infestations of devils and evil spirits were considered the cause of disease and methods for their removal were more or less varied and efficient; talismans, philters and repulsive concoctions of fifth of all kinds were among the common means employed. Even today among Tibetans and other Asiatic tribes as well as among those in Africa and the aborigines of North and South America, these concepts and methods are still practiced with fluctuating degrees of success.

A. H. Grimmer
Arthur Hill Grimmer 1874-1967 graduated from the Hering Medical College (in 1906) as a pupil of James Tyler Kent and he later became his secretary, working closely with him on his repertory. He practiced in Chicago for 50 years before moving to Florida. He was also President of the American Institute for Homoeopathy.
In his book The Collected Works of Arthur Hill Grimmer, Grimmer spoke out against the fluoridation of water and vaccinations. Grimmer wrote prodigeously, Gnaphalium, Homeopathic Prophylaxis and Homeopathic Medicine and Cancer: The Philosophy and Clinical Experiences of Dr. A.H. Grimmer, M.D.