THOUGHTS ON OUR MAJOR PREMISE

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Perhaps we need to think more about our Major Premise and how it is concluded. Once we accept the Major Premise, there is little difficulty in deductively drawing out conclusions that give us the philosophical basis for the practice of chiropractic (although very few of our profession do it!). The way in which we determine our Major Premise, however, is a question that needs to be rethought. Basically, there are only four methods for determining any truth.
1. Empiricism or use of the senses. This is commonly called the scientific method. It has its weaknesses, for the senses can be fooled.
2. Deductive reasoning or drawing conclusions about the parts from knowledge of the whole. Once we establish the existence of a universal intelligence in all matter, it logically follows that a “part” of that intelligence is in living matter. Therefore, we deductively conclude that there is an innate intelligence. Deduction, however, is inappropriate for establishing the existence of a universal intelligence because deduction necessitates something greater, something above or beyond universal intelligence. Our chiropractic philosophy does not address a cause or source of universal intelligence. (Not that we do not acknowledge one, we simply do not address its existence as part of chiropractic philosophy).
3. Inductive reasoning or drawing conclusions about the whole by observing the parts. We see the effects and draw conclusions about the cause. This is the method that we use in chiropractic. We most often use the cosmological argument which says that organization bespeaks intelligence. The universe demonstrates organization, therefore, we conclude that there is an organizing principle which we call universal intelligence. We have looked at the effects and draw conclusions about the cause. There is a problem with induction…it can never be conclusive. The classical example is the inductive argument that goes as follows: The sun rose today. The sun has risen as long as anyone can remember. Therefore, the sun will rise tomorrow. The only way the above inductive argument (drawing conclusions about the whole from examining the parts) can be demonstrated is by empiricism. We wake up tomorrow, look out the window and see the sun in the sky. That is why induction usually goes hand in hand with science. It is the theoretical basis for scientific investigation. Einstein used it to develop his theory of relativity. Here is the problem: induction without empiricism is incomplete. We can say the sun will rise tomorrow, but we do not know for sure until we get out of bed in the morning and look out the window. Someday, according to scientists, the sun will burn out and that inductive argument will be demonstrated to be wrong for that one particular day. (After that it will no longer matter!) That’s the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning. With deductive reasoning, if our premise is true and our reasoning accurate, we can be sure our conclusions are true. With inductive reasoning, if our premise is true and our reasoning, accurate, our conclusions will more than likely be accurate. Do you see the difference? Now there is nothing wrong with acting upon that “most probable conclusion.” We do it every day. I make plans for tomorrow on the inductive conclusion that the sun will rise.
In further evaluation, however, do we make plans on the inductive conclusion or is faith involved? Here we have introduced the fourth method of perception.
4. Faith. I have faith in universal laws. I believe, and that is the key word, that as the sun has risen since man was keeping track, it will also rise tomorrow.
With regard to our chiropractic philosophy and the determination of a universal intelligence, there is a small leap of faith that is made from the inductive, cosmological argument to the conclusion that there is a universal intelligence in all matter continually giving to it all its properties and actions thus maintaining it in existence. Granted, it is not much faith, inasmuch as it is faith in the presence of evidence, but it is, nevertheless, faith. Since induction is only valid as a intermediary step, it makes that faith important, especially since our Major Premise will not be proved empirically. Tomorrow I will see the sun rise. Tomorrow I will not prove the existence of universal intelligence empirically. That will never happen. So perhaps there is a more important place for faith than we would first imagine relative to our chiropractic philosophy. v6n2

 

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