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Rationality and Homeopathy –

Taking stock in stormy times

Ralf Jeutter

About the Homeopath:
Ralf Jeutter PhD RSHom.

Ralf  Jeutter

I started studying homeopathy informally 14 years ago, while still a Senior Lecturer at a university in Manchester.

I trained at the North West College of Homeopathy from 1996 to 2000. I continued my medical and homeopathic training for one year at the reputable Institute of Clinical Research (ICR) in Bombay and Pune, India. Apart from my private practice I have worked for the past four years in a charitable children's clinic, and was involved in a Government-funded project to bring homeopathy into inner city areas.

I am a registered homeopath with the Society of Homeopaths.
I am one of the Directors of the Society of Homeopaths.

This is an edited version of a lecture which the author gave on the occ

asion of the Hahnemann-Symposium in March 2009 in Karlsruhe, Germany.

 


‘But who then will help us out of this grave?’ (C.Hering)

 

When this topic was suggested to the organisers of the symposium, it was intended as an historical-critique, a purely academic-philosophical lecture on the developmental line Hahnemann to Hering to Kent. An overview was prepared, with the intention of facilitating an understanding of homeopathy as it was once meant and designed. There are, of course, many such overviews available, and they appear with great regularity. However, this is not an argument against adding another one, because every homeopath in each new generation has to confront this task. There is not really anything new in homeopathy (despite pronouncements from certain quarters to the contrary). The foundations are always the same – and yet one fact in particular has to be brought into consciousness: the only new thing in each generation of homeopaths, is the restoration of that which has stood the test of time.  A historian recently pointed out that the difference between memory and history is that the latter is based on facts (Snyder, T. 2009), and these days our tradition seems to be based more on memory than history. Josef M.Schmidt reminds us: ‘Of all the systems of medical practice which appeared in the history of medicine towards the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, homeopathy is the only one which today can still look back on a continuous tradition of its practical-therapeutic application and still has a wide following.’ (Schmidt, 2007)

And these days, it is more urgent than ever to edit and process all that material which like a treasure, lies unused and undiscovered in so many archives. This assumes that it is worthwhile, desirable, appropriate, yes even necessary to understand the original design of homeopathy. It seems that this, more than anything else, has become a matter of opinion in our profession: this in my view it cannot not be if homeopathy is indeed a clearly defined discipline, resting neither on antiquated and quaint beliefs nor on opposing opinions.

While this article was being prepared, a lot was happening in the British homeopathy scene. A colleague from Canada described it as a sensation of stepping straight into a ‘hurricane’. Such a hurricane is of course nothing new in homeopathy. As in music so also here the principle of da capo dominates: the constant repetition becomes a memorable theme. If there is anything new in this it will be the perspective or the context in which the old and all too familiar can be seen. For some time British homeopaths have been under immense pressure, which does not only compel them to mobilise all resources available to maintain their professional niche, but also challenges them to rethink the basic principles of homeopathy in order to see what stands up to the test of rational scrutiny.

In short, what was intended as a purely homeopathic study, had to take note of political aspects of our profession that can no longer be ignored. The peace of quiet homeopathic reflection and honest hard work has been considerably disrupted in the last 18 months. Hering’s motto dominates these times: ‘It needs to be done what the time demands. Now it is time to fight.’. (Hering, vol. 2, p.450)

 

Constantine Hering forms the centre of these considerations (whereby Hahnemann is always in the background). The contrast to these two is Kent.

 

Da capo No. 1: After the rise the decline?

Not so long ago homeopathy in the UK blossomed, not unlike in the heyday of homeopathy in America in the late 19th century. Now, it seems, an atmosphere of crisis has descended on our profession, which includes material aspects like earning a living from homeopathy and questions relating to the legitimacy of homeopathy as a discipline. The attacks on homeopathy are well coordinated and have as their target all public aspects of homeopathy (Monbiot, 2003): the regulation of our profession; the availability of homeopathic remedies in health food shops; the training of homeopaths on university validated courses, and especially access to homeopathic treatment within the NHS. Since 2005, the cost to the NHS for homeopathic treatment has fallen by almost 50% (from £593 000 in 2005 to £321 000 in 2007) – a sum amounting to not more than 0.006% of the overall drug budget of the NHS. A venerable, well-established homeopathic hospital has been closed in April 2009 and the most prestigious homeopathic hospital within the NHS, the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital (led by the official physician to the Queen) fights for its survival. Although homeopathy has been enshrined in the constitution of the NHS from day one, its further existence within this public service is now under serious threat. This is not the right place to discuss or characterise the opposition against homeopathy in the UK in detail. Relevant in this context are the accusations which are levelled against homeopathy, which are all too familiar and have been repeated ad nauseam in the history of homeopathy:

  • There is no evidence that homeopathy works.
  • Homeopathy is dangerous, lethal, even potentially murderous on a large scale (Hufeland spoke of the ‘grave of patients, yes even mankind’), and those who practise it are either peddlers of the placebo effect or cynical quacks, who exploit and mislead a gullible public.
  • Homeopathy is un-, even ant-scientific.
  • Homeopaths are only guided by the idea of financial gain (see L.Milgrom under references).

 

Some of these points (esp. 2 and 4) are so laughable, that it is easy to agree with Hering when he writes:

‘Why should we still be scared of being ridiculed’, esp. if our opponents expose themselves so shamelessly to ridicule. But unfortunately, our opponents will not stop fighting homeopathy tooth and nail until it is either destroyed or has successfully found its place within medicine. The situation Hering described all these years ago is not too dissimilar to what we have to contend with these days:

But the public are just observers in our disputes. When a famous doctor speaks (and we have such a one in the UK – R.J.), a whole nation listens. On the other hand, the Archiv is read by ten professional homeopaths, before a doctor would open it. Shall we have wool pulled over our eyes or sand thrown into them only because colleagues of ours do this?  (op.cit., vol.2, p.445)

Today, not only the public, but also the majority of colleagues watch passively the battle over homeopathy – possibly out of fear of personal attacks, which are targeted against those who dare to raise their voices against the current orthodoxy. Another reason for the silence, I fear, is that many have lost their own certainty regarding homeopathy. The foundations have become shaky; our own tradition is unfamiliar to many current homeopaths. At least in England homeopathy has become vulnerable. One reason for this could well be that these days, many homeopaths have difficulties defending homeopathy effectively.

 

There are aspects of the attacks against homeopathy which have to be taken seriously and are worth a debate, especially the contention that homeopathy is unscientific, which includes the charge that homeopaths shy away from intellectual debates. Only recently an article appeared in one of the British quality newspapers, in which homeopathy was characterised as ‘opposite to science’. Rightly a reader asked the question what exactly is the ‘opposite of science’? No answer came forward. One can see from this how lazy our opponents can afford to be these days. They only have to say ‘science’ and postulate that homeopathy is the opposite. It is a world in black and white.

 

Da Capo No.2

This concerns the way we deal with our opponents. In this area too, nothing has changed, the arguments for and against homeopathy are well known and have been rehearsed for the last 200 years. Everything we encounter today has been here before. Nothing is new; everything is repetition, and yet we do not ‘step twice into the same river.’ It is therefore also up to us to take up the cause; to insist on our own rationality, and to parry patiently the arguments of our opponents.

Our profession can benefit from taking our opponents seriously, because the so-called Hahnemannian homeopaths find themselves in a curious position anyway: on the one hand, they find themselves exposed to the attacks of the false sceptics (those who declare themselves rather grandly as the defenders of rationality, and who have little in common with genuine sceptics, who above all, promote an attitude of doubt and not certainty in the great tradition of David Hume), and on the other hand they have to contend with some outrageous theories and practices of ‘modern’ homeopaths. It is often more challenging to deal with the latter, because there are fewer points of contact with them as far as rational medicine is concerned than with the former. The attacks from outside therefore offer an opportunity to take stock concerning our identity as homeopaths. They offer an opportunity to view our discipline through the eyes of our critics, however partially sighted or blind they might be, and to decide what remains once we have put homeopathy through this test.

 

The main focus of this article is rationality in homeopathy. Considering the crude attacks against homeopathy as unscientific and irrational, it is only appropriate to enquire into homeopathy’s tradition of rationality as well as irrationality, if we are willing to take the attacks seriously.

Whoever cares for the work of Hahnemann must be outraged that homeopaths are accused (by those who think they can deliver a final judgment on what is science and what is medicine) of being in the camp of the quacks. Hering called them the ‘world rationalists, who condemn everything’, while a modern critic of the false sceptics calls them the ‘new fundamentalists’ (L. Milgrom). These new fundamentalists see themselves as the last bulwark of reason in a world, which is sinking into irrationality, whereby homeopathy is for them an expression of that irrationality.

 

Those who criticise homeopathy from an intellectual viewpoint perceive in it a deliberate retrograde movement, which baffles paying customers with enticing rituals (it is after all only water!); withdraws from any reasoned argument, and not unlike tarot, astrology and reading tea leaves, is rooted in magical thinking, as an attempt to fill the vacuum of spiritual meaning. So we find ourselves, in the eyes of those critics, in cahoots with spiritual healers and shamans. The critics do everything to retouch medical history in order to delete even the smallest traces of rationality in homeopathy.

 

As a footnote for the link to the next section it should be mentioned here that part of the everyday business of the critics is not to know the subject they criticise. The noble tone of contempt quite obviously does not allow them to familiarise themselves with what they condemn. (Alderson, 2009) Recently one of the leading critics of homeopathy in the UK confused miasmata with miasms (Goldacre, 2008) to make a case for the hopelessly antiquated nature of homeopathy. What he did not know was that he lagged a good 170 years behind Hering who in the late 1830’s wrote that the ‘notorious marsh miasma, this multi-headed dragon of the marshes […] belongs in the realm of fables.’ (op.cit., Vol.1, p.391).

 

Da Capo 3:

The scientific nature of homeopathy

Hahnemann called it the ‘rational healing art’ or the true rational healing art (because the same title was claimed by Hahnemann’s allopathic colleagues); Hahnemann wanted to cure according to ‘clear principles’ (section 3 of Organon), and put homeopathy on the solid foundations of observation and experiment. He builds a bridge to modern medicine by condemning the unscientific practice of bloodletting; by being one of the first rational hygienists of his time, and who hypothesised that cholera could have its origin in micro-organisms; he was in the frontline of pointing out ‘the importance of clear definitions and an unambiguous nomenclature’ in the field of therapeutic agents; he insisted on the non-interchangeability of  individual medicinal herbs; Hahnemann stressed the need ‘to define and differentiate cases of illness on an exact a basis as possible, and whilst doing so not to let himself be influences by speculation regarding their cause, or by school dogmas or superstition’, because knowledge of disease in Hahnemann’s time was very limited; Hahnemann wanted to put the use of therapeutic agents on a more rational footing than were common in his time: either it was by pure chance, superstitious beliefs (like the doctrine of signatures) or by ‘paraempirical lay practice’ (Schmidt, 2007).  In the hands of Hahnemann homeopathy became a truly inductive method, which rejected all speculation, avoided theorising and attempted to make the practice of medicine comprehensible and reproducible. All he demanded of his successors was that they followed strictly his method, and that they repeated exactly his own practices. And this had less to do with authoritarian dogmatism, sect-like precepts or the prohibition of independent thinking, but with the establishment of and adherence to strict scientific standards. Hahnemann always knew how important it is to insist on strict adherence to a method.

 

Hering took the adherence to the method very seriously, so seriously in fact that he put the method above the person, when he wrote:

‘The genuine Hahnemannian spirit is to regard all theories for nothing, including one’s own, compared to the results of pure experience.’ (op.cit. Vol.2, p.592)

Hering was au fait with the latest scientific discoveries of his time. He took great interest in zoology, botany, chemistry and physics. He never had any doubt that he engaged in a scientific pursuit when practising and researching homeopathy and he granted homeopathy a particular place within the natural sciences, defining its relationship to the natural sciences in a specific way. This will be considered now.

 

Hypothesis versus experiment

Hering differentiated between formulating hypotheses on the one hand side and pure experiments and observations on the other. For example, he highlighted the importance of hypotheses for making progress in the sciences. He differentiated between those hypotheses, which lead to further discoveries and those, which ‘lead to refraining from further investigations.’ The latter he called ‘paralysing’ hypotheses, and gave as an example that the earth is a flat disc. Another example of a paralysing hypothesis in the current scientific discourse concerns homeopathy itself, when critics chide her as implausible or improbable. That in itself is neither a proof nor an argument against homeopathy, but simply a hypothesis, which wants to stop all further research (which indeed is taking place right now in England, where so-called ‘scientists’ demand that all research into homeopathy should be stopped). The credo is to make ‘science’ the sole criterion to decide whether a particular intervention is effective, without defining what is meant by ‘science’ (it mostly adds up to meaning the uncritical acceptance of Randomised Controlled Trials as the gold standard for ‘proof’ of efficacy), nor is the relationship between science and practice elucidated. In this context it is only ironic that those who want to stop research like to call homeopaths flat earthers.

The difference between hypothesis and experiment (observation) corresponds in Hering’s thinking to the difference between research (theory) and practice. ‘If you want certain results then stick to experience, if you want explanation and understanding, then stick to assumptions and hypotheses.’ (op.cit. Vol. 1, p.351)

Hypotheses are therefore essential for the scientific character of homeopathy, but secondary when it comes to practice. This is a point of view which also Hahnemann took, but with even less respect for theory than Hering had.

‘Homeopathy accepts the disease phenomena as they present themselves and does not force hypotheses upon them; it accepts the effects of medicines as they present themselves and does not force hypotheses upon them; and on that basis homeopathy chooses for each individual case of disease the suitable remedy and does not force any hypothesis upon it.’ (op.cit, p.357)

‘He who wants truth and science, must strap to his feet the wings of hypotheses; he who wants certainty and reach a particular goal must walk in the solid shoes of experimentation.’ (op.cit., p.351)

This difference between hypothesis and experiment, practice and theory informs his thinking about the relationship between science and medicine:

As those ruminators , who wanted to make gold, designed chemistry as a by-product, so the doctors have tended the sciences, because they sought in them the foundation of their own science, but they never found it there nor could they. Conversely, Hahnemann has, through his own and independent discoveries, laid a foundation which inevitably results in a revolution of physics, chemistry, psychology and physiology. (op.cit., 363)

This opposition to a certain extent corresponds to the difference between empiricism and rationalism, whereby the followers of the former reject abstractions and everything which cannot be observed (disease names!). According to them, abstractions have no place in therapy. Only that which can be observed clearly, dates and facts, have a role to play in practice. Instead of abstractions, theory and logic followers of empiricism place importance on observation and experience. In this case, it is the experience in the observation of the patient and his/her symptoms and in the observation of the effects of remedies. But empiricism alone does not make a science. It only becomes so if a theory accompanies the experiences, as Karl Popper explained: ‘Observation is always selective. It needs a close object, a definite task, an interest, a point of view, a problem.’

The definite task, the interest of homeopathy, is the perspective from which it views phenomena: the problem that homeopathy poses for itself, is cure with the similia principle, with the minimum dose of the medicine and by strict individualisation of each case of disease. Homeopathy becomes a science by posing a problem to biology, chemistry and physics.  Moreover, it is always concerned with the individual case of disease, and because of that does justice to the rational principles of medicine, since a successful cure can ultimately only be determined individually.

 

Homeopathy and science

This differs markedly from the current dominant view according to which medicine should follow exclusively the natural sciences, where curative success is measured in averages, mostly ‘proved’ through so-called meta-analyses. Hering however, had very different ideas concerning the interplay between science and homeopathy, which are anything but anti-scientific. That homeopathy and science have to be related to each other was for him beyond doubt. He saw homeopathy as part of the sciences, but not dependent on them. The relationship, as Hering characterised it 150 years ago, is still the same today. It is a tug-of-war between the insistence of homeopaths, to be able and obliged to trust their own observations and their own method, and the viewpoint of the scientists to make homeopathy’s inexplicable mechanism and implausibility an argument against it, instead of seeing that as a pointer to a new science. To quote

Hering:

The experiences we make in the field of the healing arts have to be sifted like a peasant does his grain, so that as much of the grain as possible falls to the front. Then one can start analysing the goods scientifically, so that they can be brought into contact with the sciences external to them. But the sciences outside of them must not become the sieve by which to evaluate the experiences. Even less should we try to get the blessing for our own art from other sciences. (op.cit., p.660-661)

And the same said, only more succinctly:

The art of healing can only progress by uniting the discoveries made within homeopathy and outside of it, but only when the discoveries within homeopathy cause the progress, and those without secure that progress. Not the other way round. (op.cit., Vol. 2, p.641)

We now know, for example, that this method offers a measure for the efficacy of a therapeutic intervention. It is simply difficult (without relying on sophistry), to argue against the better state of health of a patient after homeopathic treatment (especially when that happens not in isolation, but in a series of thousands of cases). The objection to this is often of a purely theoretical nature and in many cases so recondite, that it cannot not only explain the obvious therapeutic success, but moreover tries to explain it with something which is even less well understood than the therapeutic method in question (e.g. the placebo effect).

A definition of Hahnemannian homeopathy results from the description of its own foundation and therapeutic method. Homeopathy is a technique, a discipline, which, on the basis of its own practice and the attendant philosophy, enriches science, ‘since homeopathy’, as Hering points out in a different place, ‘does not exclude science, but is in need of it.’ (op.cit., Vol.1, p.104).

Harris L.Coulter has pointed out that the homeopathic method has solved the problem of providing a clear definition of primary data – the individual cases of diseases, the individual patients. These are described down to the smallest detail, and have stood the test of time for at least the last 200 years. A well observed symptom is an unalterable fact, which was true yesterday and will be true tomorrow. However, this methodological foundation is only solid, if the collection of details is being carried out with great precision and in a way which leaves out all speculation.

The flowing, manifold and continuously changing states of disease are classified according to our homeopathic remedies, and not according to speculative, abstract, nosological categories. The symptoms in homeopathy have meaning, because they are related to a particular remedy.

Moreover, this knowledge is cumulative and stable and does justice to a definition of rational medicine, which Carroll Dunham described in the following way: It has ‘the capability to infinite progress in each of its elements without detriment to its integrity as a whole.’ As a whole, it always remains the same, has to remain the same, but has in its individual aspects (e.g. materia medica, repertory) the ability to lead to infinite progress. This is another standard according by which genuine homeopathy can be measured. Whoever thinks, they have to change the foundations, has quite obviously not understood them. Above all, the connection between the data collection, vital data and the therapeutic use of these data, makes homeopathy scientific.

 

Equally far-reaching, sensible and wise was Hering’s refusal, to combine homeopathy with religion or philosophy (see op.cit., vol.2, p.661), or as he put it, to ‘place a cripple on a blind man’.

 

Da capo 4:

Where homeopathy turns its back on science

In the current world of homeopathy it is not difficult to detect efforts to combine homeopathy with ‘interesting’ things like philosophy and religion, to give homeopathy a foundation in ancient Indian thinking, in chemistry or in classification systems borrowed from zoology and botany, let alone alchemy, astrology, etc. In reality these attempts do not add anything to homeopathy; they only extend homeopathy in the direction of speculation and formulating hypotheses. Moreover, in attempts like these, homeopathy betrays its desire to appear interesting, yet opens itself only to ridicule and becomes suspicious in the eyes of specialists, who can very quickly assess whether the connection between homeopathy and their own area of expertise is a natural or a manufactured one.

 

Spiritual hypotheses, ‘nature’ and homeopathy

The connection between homeopathy and spirituality, respectively religion and philosophy found its temporary climax (or nadir) in the writings of J.T. Kent (especially in his Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy). On account of this combination, a hybrid form of homeopathy has developed which differs in many ways from that of Hahnemann. Kent (following the Swedish scientist, philosopher, Christian mystic and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg [1688-1772]), established a correspondence between the human and the spiritual world. This is a kind of thinking which has been uncritically adopted by certain modern homeopathic schools. The latest variation of this can be seen in the concept of the ‘parallel self’, in which a correspondence is established between the animal kingdom (or rather what is interpreted to be the animal kingdom) and the human mind. This thinking is at the same time a continuation of sentimentalising nature, as one often finds in so-called alternative medicine.

In this case, the similia principle is being extended inappropriately to the concept of correspondence. However, it is one thing to establish a relationship between two clearly defined variables (remedy picture and picture of the disease) by observation and experiment, but another to claim that we carry the elements of spiritual, zoological, mineral and botanical worlds in us, postulating that one level explains or elucidates the other. The latter needs an explanation, which is outstanding, and can certainly not be demonstrated by the inductive method.

It is the same with the concept (according to Swedenborg and Kent) that the nature of man is determined by his will and his love, and that therefore disease always begins on the innermost spiritual level, and ergo has to be healed from that level. This is a similarly rigid concept like that of the constitution and deviates markedly from the more flowing understanding of Hahnemann and Hering of how man becomes ill and restored back to health.

Disease, according to Swedenborg and Kent is therefore the expression, or rather reflection of the shortcomings of man. Man is sick in his will and understanding. It is the lack of understanding which leads to disease. Disease becomes a medical and moral problem at the same time, whereby the latter causes the former. From here it is only a small step to what Susan Sontag describes as creating diseases as a metaphor. The disease becomes an expression of a lifestyle, is possibly a punishment for moral transgressions (this is a familiar discourse in the AIDs and cancer literature). In this context blame is attributed irrationally, which really belongs to the realm of superstition. That does not mean that this is wrong from a higher point of view (let’s say the astral plane). The point is that we simply cannot know it and that it lies clearly outside of what we can say and know. It certainly lies outside the practice of homeopathy.

Kent’s vocabulary is unambiguous on this point:

‘In all your experience, even if you live to be very old, you will find a very poor lot of homeopaths among those who do not recognise Divine Order. You will find among them false science and experimentation, no thought of purpose, order or use.’ (Lecture 10). In Kent’s world the assumption of preordained order and purpose comes first into which fit observation and experimentation. In Hahnemann and Hering order is established out of observation and experimentation.

This sentiment explains why Kent collapses scientific and ethical laws into one. This is a process which not only leads to dogmatism, but also takes a place outside of the scientific enquiry (for example in the pronouncement that any form of contraception will prevent the successful treatment of chronic diseases – Lecture 2.). There is a parallel here with what Bertrand Russell called the ‘new theology of the heart’ when writing about Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He says it ‘dispenses with argument; it cannot be refuted, because it does not profess to prove its points. At bottom, the only reason offered for its acceptance is that it allows us to indulge in pleasant dreams.’ (Russell, 2004, p.631).

And so the concept of miasms becomes something very different to Hahnemann’s conception of them as infectious diseases and consequences of infectious diseases (something, which, despite flaws in detail, can still be combined with modern medical understanding). In Kent’s hand they become expressions of human defects, yes even ‘original sin’, as he conceives psora.

To equate psora with ‘original sin’ implies an unnatural state of man (‘the human race walking the face of the earth is little better than a moral leper’), and a specific role homeopathy plays in this, namely as the therapeutic intervention which can reverse the status of moral corruption in man. Neither Hahnemann nor Hering ever suggested that homeopathy has this capacity (or should have it).

Through that process homeopathy has become more sentimental when it comes to its view of nature. When we look at modern animal provings one could get the idea that all animals are benign, that there is a harmonious correspondence between us and them, a commensality which seems to assume that the animals are there to heal us. At the same time we like to engage in anthropomorphism, and think that we can see a correspondence also from our side. All animals have now human traits.

We like to see ourselves in the role of the perpetrator, who has left the limits of nature, and inflicts damage on nature which is irreversible. This was neither Hahnemann’s nor Hering’s view. In their view of the world we are in a position, especially as homeopaths, to do better than (simply imitating) nature:

The saddest are those doctors who hold forth about the healing power of nature, and who treat her with a kind of reverence, who prostrate in front of this bogey astonished awe, which has become quite fashionable, since Hahnemann scrutinised him closely and called him a fake. (op.cit., Vol.2, p.689)

 

‘On the other hand, see what advantages man has over the crude nature of chance events! There are many more thousands of homeopathic disease potencies available to us for the relief of our suffering brethren in the medicinal substances spread throughout creation.’ (Organon, section 51).

‘The old school merely followed the operation of crude instinctual nature […]. They merely mimicked the sustentive power of life when left to itself in diseases which, not being able of acting according to intellect and deliberation, and resting simply as it does on the original laws of the body, works only according to these laws.’ (Organon, Introduction, p.28).

The simple opposition of the nature lovers of the alternative scene on the one hand and the destroyers of nature with their artificial medication did not exist as such in the world of Hahnemann and Hering.

One can assume that the uncertainty, the unpredictability, the apparent anarchy of the vis medicatrix naturae does not fit into the concept of a rational healing art, which more than anything aimed for certainty, especially certainty when it comes to the application of its own method.

Sentimentality and moralising are the domain of Kent and his successors.

Homeopathy, in the eyes of Hahnemann and Hering, is an artefact and as such an achievement. It is the unnatural which deserves praise in homeopathy.

Homeopathy according to Hahnemann does not fit in with fashionable trends, it neither fits into positivistic science (the world of the ‘world rationalists’ and false sceptics), nor into the world of complementary and alternative medicine and its uncritical admiration of everything ‘natural’.

 

So, who then will help us out of this grave?

This article has attempted to highlight the rational tradition within homeopathy, and to contrast it with another tradition which is very popular these days, but which sees itself exposed to the charge of being un-, even anti-scientific. It is difficult to defend the latter tradition against this charge, because it does represent a deviation from the original method, in practice as well as theory. Hahnemann developed the elements to a medical practice, which does not only do justice to scientific demands, but poses questions to the sciences, and forces them to find answers by looking at problems in a new light. The other tradition shirks verifiability by establishing metaphysical correspondences, which are in conflict (possibly intentional conflict) with currently accepted scientific knowledge. This tradition is immune to rational arguments and provokes understandably therefore the anger of those who see in this an expression of speculative arbitrariness, which has no place in modern medicine.

So how we do we find our way out of the grave? The answer to those who know Hahnemann is clear: Follow his precepts, and follow them closely. Hahnemann’s request to do this is currently more urgent than ever.

 

Literature:

Alderson, W. Halloween Science. The truth about Trick or Treatment by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst, 2009 [to download go to: http://www.homeopathyworkedforme.org/#/halloweenscience/4533482584]

Campbell, A. Homeopathy in Perspective. A Critical Appraisal, London 2008.

Classen, C. (Hrsg.) Hahnemanns Organon der Heilkunst. Studienausgabe für die Praxis (2nd edition), Stuttgart 2002.

Coulter, H.L. Divided Legacy, Berkeley 1982.

Godacre, B. Hot Foul Air [see: http://www.badscience.net/category/complementary-medicine/homeopathy/]

Gypser, K.H. (ed.) Herings Medizinische Schriften in drei Bänden, Göttingen 1988.

Kent, J.T. Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy ,New Delhi [n.d.] (Indian edition).

Milgron, L. Homeopathy and the New Fundamentalism: A Critique of the Critics, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 14, Number 5, 2008, pp. 589-594.

Monbiot, G. Invasion of the Entryists, 2003 [see http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2003/12/09/invasion-of-the-entryists/

[This is a good introduction to the wider context of the opposition to homeopathy, and all things unorthodox]

Russell, B.  History of Western Philosophy, London 2004.

Snyder, T. Holocaust: The Ignored Reality, The New York Review of Books, July 18, 2009, pp.2-3.

Schmidt, J.M. Samuel Hahnemann’s Concept of Rational Therapeutics: Principles and Problems. Journal of the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis Vol. 4, No. 9 1992, pp.13–21

Sonntag, S. Illness as Metaphor, New York 1978 (first edition).

Treuherz, F. The Origins of Kent’s Homeopathy, in: Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy, Vol. 77, No 4, 1984.


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