Deduction-an historical background


Deduction is the method used in chiropractic to develop our philosophy. Historically, it was the primary method of logic used in the authority phase of the profession (see Refined by Fire, the Evolution of Straight Chiropractic) when the statements of the Founder and Developer were considered to be canon (a ruler or measurement, a standard by which everything is evaluated). In the early part of our profession before the influence of Darwin, the Enlightenment and others moved us into the post Judeo-Christian era that we now find ourselves in, the accepted idea of a Divine Being lent itself to the unquestioned Major Premise which chiropractic had chosen to call Principle No. 1, (Universal Intelligence) and the idea that “there is a universal intelligence in all matter continually giving to it all its properties and actions thus maintaining it in existence.” As people developed other philosophical methods to establish the truth of the Major Premise, namely teleological and ontological arguments, the basis for the Major Premise became more of a philosophical argument than a theological one. Despite efforts of people like Reggie Gold to establish the basis for a universal intelligence in the inductive method. those that continued to embrace the writings and the philosophy of the Palmers and those who would denigrate the philosophy in general and the Founder and Developer in particular, continued to maintain that chiropractic had its foundations in a theological construct. It is ironic that holding to an identical position elicited pride by one group (the traditional ones) and disdain from the other end of the spectrum (the mixers), with the middle ground still being held by the Objective Chiropractor (non-therapeutic/non theological ones). The argument has become of less and less importance as the politics has caused the extreme ends of the spectrum to focus less on philosophical issues as other intraprofessional issues became of prime concern.
Besides the increase influence of the post-Christian era other factors such as the wholesale drive toward medical acceptance have affected the deductive philosophy as a basis for chiropractic. Other than the chiropractic profession, there is hardly a profession in existence (besides orthodox theology) that places any emphasis on deduction. Every medical/health procedure is pretty much focused on the inductive method. Science is king and research seems to be the stepchild of that royalty despite the fact that it entirely negates deduction and emphasizes induction only until new information contradicts and negates the conclusions of present inductive data.

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Posted in: Thinking Straight

This article has 5 comments

  1. Steve 04/09/2013, 3:47 pm:

    Hey Joe,
    I found this on line,”Deduction and induction by themselves are inadequate for a scientific approach. While deduction gives absolute proof, it never makes contact with the real world, there is no place for observation or experimentation, no way to test the validity of the premises. And, while induction is driven by observation, it never approaches actual proof of a theory. The development of the scientific method involved a gradual synthesis of these two logical approaches.”
    How would you validate UI inductively? Could that process also lead to the 32 remaining principles or would you have to work backwards proving the principles and then let the principles prove the premise?

    • Claude Lessard 04/09/2013, 5:52 pm:


      You asked: “How would you validate UI inductively?” You also stated: “And, while induction is driven by observation, it never approaches actual proof of a theory.” You answered you question. –

      – Inductively, you “see” organization in the universe through OBSERVATION… then, through rational logic, you come to the conclusion that: “A universal intelligence is in all matter and continually gives to it all its properties and actions, thus maintaining it in existence.” The Major Premise becomes the foundational authority of chiropractic. The Major Premise is the start point of chiropractic and from that foundational start point, you deduce the subsequent principles. –

      – What do YOU think? 😉

  2. Steve 04/10/2013, 5:13 pm:

    Hey Claude,
    If our major premise was derived by deductive logic then it was not an a priori statement. It seems only through inductive logic could P.#1 be a starting point.

    • Claude Lessard 04/10/2013, 5:22 pm:


      That’s exactly what I said. Through OBSERVATION (induction) you “see” the parts of the universe that are organized and function as a whole. Then, your inductive reasoning helps you to formulate the Major Premise as a priori statement. Then and ONLY then do you use your deductive reasoning to formulate the subsequent principles.

      • Steve 04/10/2013, 6:56 pm:

        Thanx Claude,
        Once more you have cleared some cobwebs.

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