Aiming at the Unprejudiced Observer

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Abstract

The homeopath's utmost concern is to find the healing remedy for his/her patient. Observational skills being crucial for fulfilling this task, Hahnemann has introduced the ‘unprejudiced observer’. He describes the needed skills and gives suggestions for practice comprising exercises to improve thinking, sensory perception, accurate naming, self-experience in homeopathic provings and the claim to desist from oneself and to focus completely on the patient. However, Hahnemann's syllabus needs some completion regarding non-sensory perceptible phenomena. Modern homeopaths realize the total extent of required skills. They are challenged to recognize the experienced reality of the patient's illness and at the same time to desist from subjective bias. Moreover, bias is induced by heuristics applied because of situational constraints. Phenomenology is an approach suitable for homeopathy, as it embraces subjective experiences. An inherent bias must be admitted though, because phenomenology depends on subjective interpretation of the perceived appearances. Overcoming this problem, Steiner has introduced objective idealism. This approach goes beyond phenomenology by respecting the ‘organising idea’ in appearances. Reality is seen as the unification of a perceptible object with its constituent organising idea. The objective of anthroposophic schooling, epistemologically based on objective idealism, is to develop skills for recognizing the organising idea of inanimated and living objects, aiming at unbiased perception. Suggestions are made in this article how anthroposophic schooling can be integrated in homeopathic practice to replace prejudice by sound judgement, leading to effective prescription.

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