Those within the chiropractic profession who call themselves chiropractic “scientists,” clinical chiropractors, or broad scope practitioners tend to look rather condescendingly at the chiropractic philosopher. Somehow they view those who have a strong philosophical base for their practice as ignorant, religious fanatics who worship B.J. Palmer, innate intelligence, or both. It is strange how they can come to that conclusion. It demonstrates their own ignorance, for almost universally, philosophers are considered to be the great thinkers, the intellectual types. But whatever their opinion, they must agree that chiropractic has a philosophy. They may see little value to it when compared to the art or the science, but it is there and it should be recognized.
The chiropractic philosophy is a deductive one. One of the characteristics of deductive reasoning is that an a priori principle is involved. That means we begin with a self evident or accepted point of fact. We do not bother to try to prove our a priori statement. We regard it as an axiom. From that a priori statement we deduce other facts, each logical deduction being deduced from the previous or the original principle. The key is that no new facts are introduced, every conclusion based upon the conclusions previously drawn. We say then that if our original a priori statement is true, and our reasoning is proper, our conclusions must be true. Each principle deduced is built upon the previous one, and all based upon the original a priori statement. In chiropractic, we commonly refer to this as the Major Premise. If we use building blocks as an analogy, a very interesting concept develops. The Major Premise is our foundation, that is, the basis for what we do. Each principle logically is built upon that foundation and each one forms the foundation of the next brick. This deduction concept would lead us to believe that if we all start with the same Major Premise, and if our reasoning is sound, we should all come to the same conclusions. Further, if we all come to the same conclusions, then we should all practice identically, at least with regard to our objectives. Because the practice of chiropractic is based upon its philosophy, the manifestations, that is individual practices, would offer the same care and talk the same language. This raises the question that could be the key to unity in our profession.
Let us start at the beginning. We all accept the Major Premise, “There is a universal intelligence in all matter continually giving to it all its properties and actions thus maintaining it in existence.” How can we all start with that statement, agree upon it, and proceed to make logical deductions and conclusions which lead us to such wide divergencies on the practical application of that philosophy? The Major Premise is our starting point. Our logic should be sound yet some conclude chiropractic is only adjusting vertebral subluxations, some treat scoliosis, some recommend diet and exercise and on and on and on. Yet all would agree on the Major Premise as being the starting point in chiropractic, all would accept it as an a priori statement and all would agree that their philosophy is derived from that starting point. It seems then there must be a point where the reasoning of some goes astray. There must be a point where wrong conclusions have been drawn, faulty reasoning has been used, error has been deduced from truth or the application of the philosophy does no follow the philosophy. If we go back to our analogy of the building blocks, we can see that if two people start at the same point adding brick upon brick and one ends up with a crooked wall it is easy to rectify. There is a point where one brick was not properly built upon the preceding one. It may only be a fraction of an inch off but every one following will be of by that much, and even though the logic and reasoning is correct from that point on, the end product will not be straight (no pun intended). Perhaps the secret to unity then is to go back in our philosophy, or better yet start at the beginning point, begin the process of “brick by brick”, principle by principle, building the philosophy and find out where some of us have gone out of “plumb.” Intelligent dialogue will demonstrate to rational people where the reasoning has broken down. It is then only necessary to begin at that point and start to build upon the proper foundation. We don’t have to tear down the whole wall, only go back to the point the plumb was lost. If we can correct those areas, we will make the greatest strides toward unifying this profession in principle and practice.
We have tried unifying our profession on definition, scope of practice, educational requirements, charismatic leaders and just about everything else. After 90 years we are just as fragmented as ever. Perhaps it is time to sit down to responsible dialogue, putting aside labels and get back to basics. If chiropractic is a philosophy as well as an art and science, and we would almost universally agree that it is, then perhaps we should stop ignoring its philosophy and start applying it to our professional objectives and practice v3n2

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