Homeopathy
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1714740
Debate

The Need for Multidisciplinary Research within the History and Theory of Homeopathy[*]

Josef M. Schmidt
1  Institute of Ethics, History, and Theory of Medicine, Ludwig Maximilian’s University, Munich, Germany
› Author Affiliations

Abstract

The controversial issue of homeopathy's scientificity will, in all probability, not be settled by means of clinical trials alone, as long as uncertainty or ignorance about methodological, philosophical, and socio-economical essentials prevail on both sides of the argument. Rather than uncritically adopt the standards of the currently predominant paradigm, homeopathy should not forget its roots, peculiarities, and self-conception. Contrary to conventional medicine, it is based on a teleological image of humanity, a holistic and sustainable approach towards curing sickness, and an up-to-date concept of medical theory in terms of healing arts. However, under today's frameworked conditions of industrialisation, commercialisation and commodification, the strengths of homeopathy tend to be disregarded or even attacked, and a special kind of reductionist and materialist rationality, compatible with expanding markets and profits, is preferably facilitated. To reveal and demonstrate these developments and relationships on a scientific level, there is a need for multidisciplinary research on the part of the humanities, such as history and theory of medicine, history and theory of science, history of economics, sociology of scientific knowledge, and philosophy.

Highlights

• To assess the scientific status of homeopathy, not only natural sciences and clinical trials, but also methodological, philosophical and socio-economical considerations are required.


• Although ostensibly forced to comply with the standards of evidence-based medicine, homeopathy should never forget its roots, peculiarity, and self-conception.


• Homeopathy is based on a teleological image of humanity, a holistic and sustainable approach towards healing diseases, and an up-to-date concept of medical theory in terms of healing arts.


• Today's socioeconomic and intellectual framework conditions are prone to disregard the strengths of homeopathy and rather facilitate a reductionist and materialist rationality, compatible with expanding markets and profits.


• To reveal and demonstrate these cultural and political developments and relationships on a scientific level, multidisciplinary research together with the humanities, including historical, social, economical and philosophical sciences, is needed.


* This article is a revised version of a paper presented at the 70th Congress of the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 26, 2015.




Publication History

Received: 02 March 2020

Accepted: 12 May 2020

Publication Date:
08 September 2020 (online)

The Faculty of Homeopathy