Homeopathy, phenomenology and the unprejudiced observer: response to Swayne and Whitmarsh: Homeopathy (2013) 102, pp. 157–159; 225–229

The belief that ‘homeopathy works’, is effective and can demonstrate clinical efficacy, while encouraging, has little to do with the philosophy, practice or relevance of phenomenology to homeopathy. Jeremy Swayne’s editorial draws a spurious link between positive outcome studies and the capacity for homeopathy to ‘open up a rich vein of scientific enquiry and clinical opportunity’. So too, Tom Whitmarsh’s understanding of phenomenology suggests that homeopathy and phenomenology are ‘pretty similar’ in terms of how they look at the world. As long as the homeopath remains ‘untainted by what he knows’ and is ‘doing (his) best to avoid received opinion’ phenomenology is made to appear logical and easily applied in practice. Together, Swayne’s and Whitmarsh’s understanding diminish the complexity of phenomenology as a research methodology and as a method of clinical engagement. Their understanding misconstrues phenomenology as being ‘purely descriptive,’ ignoring the prospect that description and observation are actually based upon interpretation of patient phenomena, not objective and unprejudiced observations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.