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Chiropractic Journal of Australia : CJA March 2013
Chiropractic Journal of Australia Volume 43 Number 1 March 2013 19 INTRODUCTION According to Rosen, the task of philosophy is to ask what is the best way of life for this present journey of existence.1 As we humans differ from each other, it should not be surprising that we often decide on different ways for our journeys, as individuals and as groups. We make these decisions consciously or subconsciously, based on different types of evidence, selecting that which seems most relevant, reliable and compelling to us.2 Often we unthinkingly follow Nietzsche's herd mentality, and do what others seem to be doing.3 This is particularly true in the areas of health and disease. Few of the public realise that much of what is on offer in this important, sometimes life or death matter, is largely ultimately based on philosophical models. Few of those who work in this area have consciously and critically examined the model or mixtures of models with which they chose to practise, let alone other models. This paper begins with a brief review of the concept of philosophical models. It then examines, compares and contrasts interpretations of what I term the 'Western' allopathic philosophical model (with the doctor as a mechanic ‘fxing’ the ‘broken down’ patient, mainly using drugs and surgery) and the 'Eastern' model of health (which addresses how this person is relating to the universe, and the results of that relationship). In addition, some basic principles of chiropractic are examined in light of these models. PHILOSOPHICAL MODELS In understanding what a philosophical model is, I take the word ‘model’ as ‘a typical or specifc form or style.’4 The word 'philosophical' is not as easy to comprehend. According to one dictionary of philosophy, 'those who study philosophy disagree to this day on how they should defne their feld … philosophers still fnd the very defnition of their feld controversial.’5 To avoid this controversy, a simple and practical understanding of philosophy will be used in this paper - that of Rosen in its opening sentence. To that will be added the understanding that, 'philosophy is a condition of the psyche and so a way of life, rather than solely a system of true propositions,' to emphasise the traditional understanding of philosophy as a way of life, with practical implications and results.6 This approach seeks answers to the important questions of life. In the context of this paper, it seeks answers to important questions to do with health. GREEK ORIGINS Our Western way of thinking, and therefore many Western philosophical models and behaviours, is based on those of the ancient Greeks.7 Indeed, DD Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, wrote that the principles of chiropractic were not new, but were directly from the Greeks. We can therefore gain insight into how we think and what we do today by examining those roots. The tradition that Thales of Miletus predicted an eclipse of the sun in 585 BC has been marked as the beginning of philosophy and science in Western thought.8 Heraclitus of Ephesus (born c. 540 BC) later argued that the logos, the single divine law of the universe, ‘… holds always but humans always prove unable to understand it … most live as if they had their own private understanding … Mechanic or Gardener? Contrasting Philosophical Models Underlying Health Care DENNIS RICHARDS ABSTRACT: This paper traces the historical development of some philosophical models in science as this relates to health and disease. In particular, it examines, compares and contrasts the 'Western' allopathic model (the doctor as a mechanic who fxes the patient) with the ‘Eastern’ model of health (how this person is relating to the universe and the results of that relationship). Some basic principles of chiropractic are examined in the light of these models. INDEX TERMS: MeSH: CHIROPRACTIC; PHILOSOPHY. Other: WELLNESS PRACTICE, CHIROPRACTIC; INNATE INTELLIGENCE. Dennis Richards, BSc, DC, Grad Cert Phil Studies, ACP, FACC, FICC Private Practice of Chiropractic. Tweed Heads, NSW This paper is based on one submitted as part requirement for the completion of the New Zealand College of Chiropractic Academy of Chiropractic Philosophers program. Received 18 January 2013, revised version 3 February, accepted 10 February 2013 No confict of interest noted Chiropr J Aust 2013; 43:19-24.
CJA December 2012
CJA June 2013