Phenomenological viewpoint and homoeopathy


Dr Sreekumar A

Phenomenon is an observed or apparent object or fact or occurence.There is a basic wholeness in a phenomenon.

Phenomenology is a study of that which exhibits or displays itself or it is the descriptive point of view obtained by viewing the thing as a whole.

Medicine needs to be studied as a whole and also in minute particulars but over emphasis on minute particulars will interrupt the understanding of organism as a whole.

As our knowledge is expanding, the vastness of concepts information, beliefs etc are to be integrated in to a meaningful whole for the better understanding and for this, a phenomenological outlook is necessary.

Homoeopathy is enjoying a phenomenological view point as it deals with the primary, morbid alterations taking place in the vitality of human being which will be exhibited or manifested as signs and symptoms which has a wholistic concept about diseases. Homoeopathy is considering the broader outlines of the whole, but it should be based on the logic that the minute particulars should come as a part or should correspond adequately with the general phenomenological outlook.

The study of minute details is necessary but it may reach a dead end on the questions why and how and here one will have to go back to the more general wholistic existence of the human being.

The force within a human being is differentiating the individual from others, at the same time unifying the individual with Nature. There is a basic uniqueness in the universe, out of which all animate and inanimate forms have been derived. A human being will show a response towards some environmental situation and the response will be shown by almost all human beings under similar environmental situations (exceptions for this are the idiosyncrasies).Other organisms may also show similar responses.

This is basis of the quality known as adaptation.
Though there is a basic unity in animate as well as inanimate beings, there is a differentiating factor also and we can conveniently call that factor as the susceptibility which differentiates lifeness from lifelessness.

The various life processes such as health and disease are subjected to the statistical laws whereas the quality of life itself is subjected to the universal laws. So whenever we are dealing with life and various life processes, there should be a balance between our statistical laws and the universal should not contradict the other.

H.A.Roberts is arguing that if homoeopathy is based on the natural laws, then the results of the homoeopathic drugs, both in diseases as well as in provings, should be uniform. But there is a variation in the remedial action which we are unable to understand. there can be such variations as the individual qualities of the sick individuals well as the provers may be different. Versatility is a characteristic of human beings. But H.A.Roberts is not favoring these individual variations and he is declaring that beyond all these individual and circumstantial variation, there are reasons for the variation in remedial actions, which we can not understand. He is observing that our incapability in the complete understanding of the dynamic laws and our overdependence on the statistical laws are the causes of these troubles.

The basic problem is that there is no determinable level of health. Our senses are imperfect and incapable of a total understanding of a symptom or the mechanism of production of symptom. We can not perceive symptoms in their full meaning. The phenomena of health and disease are very difficult to put into material explanations as our senses are too imperfect and incapable of understanding and interpreting these phenomena.

While talking about the phenomenological viewpoint in homoeopathy, H.A.Roberts is saying that an atom can offer the solution to universal physics and that the universe itself offers aid in understanding our specific problems and we can put it in another way as homoeopathy is a therapeutic method, considering the general as well as particular aspects of health and disease, the particulars giving ideas about the generals and the generals giving ideas about the particulars.

The hypothesis of an energy release   in dilutions
H.A.Roberts is trying to correlate the process of radioactivity and the energy release with the dilutions!

There is a concept that when diluting, the potential energy of the drug particles is getting released. He is thinking that in dynamisation an energy release is taking place and he is suggesting that during trituration or sucussions,the atomic structure of the drug element is getting altered or even there can be a splitting up of the atom with an energy release .But this is not a convincing argument. In order to split an atom, a huge amount of energy is required and this will result in the release of a very huge amount of energy which we have not however observed during dynamisation.

Even today, what is happening in potentisation is not understood. Whether there is any definite energy release when diluting the element, whether any chemico-physical changes are happening, is a special subject for a biophysicist.

An absolute understanding of the health and disease qualities is almost impossible, but in order to interpret these processes, not merely a study of the pathology but, a phenomenological, holistic approach, keeping in mind, the universal energy and its changes, is required.

The word ‘phenomenology’ has come, in modern times, to be associated with Edmund Husserl .

Historically, it was Hegel who had first used the word in his work The “phenomenology of spirit. In Hegel’s work phenomenology was understood to be an ascent of consciousness from the conscious stage to absolute knowledge through various forms of self consciousness. As phenomenology etymologically means science or phenomena of appearances. But Hegel understands them to the appearances of the absolute which constitute the different stages of the universal cosncimored. So Hegel’s interest was mainly ontological, but Hasseral was mainly interested in the epistemological problems to him ‘phenomena’ stand for ‘appearances’ through which a thing is presented to us, such as in perception.

These appearances are fundamentally different from Hegelian appearances. Husseral understands phenomenology as the study of phenomena or appearances in a systematic way to explain the possibility of our valid knowledge in different fields such as science, mathematics, philosophy etc. He does not accept phenomenology as a metaphysical or ontology, rather to him, it is philosophical method which will help us to go to the foundation of sciences and other branches of knowledge.

Husserl defined phenomenology as the description of subjective processes and there by made phenomenology co-extensive with psychology. But the two sciences differ mainly in that psychology seeks to explain phenomena in causal and genetic terms, where as phenomenology merely analysis and describes phenomena as they are presented. Phenomenology as the descriptive analysis of subjective phenomena, independently of any philosophical or epistemological presuppositions or commitments, is advocated by Hasserl as an indispensable preliminary to all other sciences.

Phenomenology is subjectivist in that its investigations are initially directed toward the ego and its presentations. However it is not subjectivist in a psychological sense for Husserl is against “psychologism” prevalent among his contemporaries. He insists on the autonomy of rational enquiry into the ideal rational factors in experience. Phenomenology is philosophical science prior to and independent of psychology.

An essential feature of the phenomenological method is the technique of “bracketing” or elimination of the factual dimension of our experience, in order to focus attention on its essential, ideal aspect, the proper subject matter of philosophical enquiry. The phenomenologist is not concerned with particular facts as such, but with ideal essences which shine them particulars.

Husserl uses the expression ‘Epoch’ (suspension of judgment) to refer to the purification of experience of its factuality. This method involutes an initial suspension of judgment regarding the existence of the presentations of consciousness. The method of bracketing of existence must be preserved throughout to investigate the essential constitution of experience.

Phenomenological analysis is conversant with the ideal entities with which we are confronted after we have bracketed or eliminated factiality.But Husserl differs himself from platonic realism. These ideal objects of phenomenological enquiry are not platonic universals. Husserl invokes the theory of ‘intentional reference’ in his interpretation of the objects of phenomenological study. Intentionality is an intrinsic saint of the subjective processes of consciousness whom by they refer to subjects- the objects of phenomenological–enquiry are intentional objects.

The phenomenologist is not committed —to these subjects any ontological states beyond the main fact that they are emisages. In phenomenology the important thing is not the status of ideal objects but the fact that such objects may  be investigated in their interrelations, and that the results of such descriptive analysis are conceive and communicable. They then possess the only kind of objectivity which is necessary for the purpose of genuine knowledge.