D. D. Palmer
CHIROPRACTIC A SCIENCE, AN ART AND THE PHILOSOPHY
It has been said that science is a stranger to and
nowise accounts for the peculiar contents of the book of life.
Medical men have never been able to harmonize the
science of medicine with organic functions in health and disease.
Science is the registered mental account of our surroundings;
it is common sense--we desire to know things as they are.
Chiropractic embraces the science of life, the knowledge
of how organisms act in health and disease, also the art of adjusting the
An organism is an organized body, such is known as
the living economy, the regulation of the parts of an organic whole, the
aggregate of the parts and laws governing an organism. Ecology, or
bionomics, is that branch of biology which deals with the mutual relations
between that branch of biology which deals with the mutual relations between
organisms and their environment, the effect which our surroundings has
upon life, the modification of vital actions which are directed by an intelligence.
Bionomic forces are those external forces, other than vital forces, which
influence the changes incident to the development of life. Bionomy
is the laws of life; the science which treats of laws regulating the vital
functions. Biologas is the living and intelligent power displayed
in organic activities. Bioenergy is the life-force, the force exercised
in living organisms. An organism is any individual animal or plant.
Any living being is an organism. The collective parts which compose
an organized body, together with the laws which govern their action constitutes
an organism. An individual so constituted that it may carry on the
activities of life by means of its organs, which, although differing in
function, yet are mutually dependent upon each other for their individual
acts is an organism. An organized body endowed with a separate existence,
whose vital sets depend upon the aggregation of organs, constitutes an
The science of chiropractic has lead to the creation
of the art of vertebral adjusting.
The philosophy of chiropractic (the science and the
art) consists of the reasons for the principles which have lead up to and
the wherefore of vertebral adjusting.
Science refers to that which is to be known; art
to that which is to be done; philosophy gives the reasons why of the method
and the way in which it is to be performed.
A science is composed of principles which coincide
with mental and physical facts. I have systematized the principles
of biology, thereby creating a science. The theory of chiropractic
embraces the speculative principles upon which the art of vertebral adjusting
is based. The study of chiropractic includes the consideration of
the three divisions, viz., the science, art and the philosophy of the two
Chiropractic to be a science must be specific. In
order to be scientific it must contain the knowledge of the principles
and facts of biology reduced to an unvarying law and embodied into a system.
Where science ends faith begins.
To know the science of chiropractic is to have a
knowledge of the principles which compose it. The ability to put
that knowledge into practice is chiropractic art.
Knowledge embraces all that we know from whatever
source derived or obtained, or by whatever process acquired; it is the
aggregate of facts, truths and principles obtained and retained by the
mind or spirit through reason, objective perception, derived from the use
of the external senses, or of intuition, subjective immediate knowing of
the inner animating intelligence.
Beyond the region of knowledge is that of nescience,
lack of knowledge, a deficiency of knowableness. Science is founded
upon facts, while nescience decreases as knowledge increases, the unknowable
The principles of chiropractic science were not developed
or evolved from any other method; they were discovered as pre-existing
elements and formulated into a system. The principles which compose
the science of chiropractic are as old as the vertebrata.
To know chiropractic as a science, we must become
familiar with the principles, we must make it scientific. To know
it as an art is to make it specific, make use of the knowledge which composes
A chiropractor is one who has a knowledge of the
science and art of chiropractic, one who is capable of performing the art
of adjusting vertebrae; he should, also, comprehend the philosophy of the
science and art, the reasons for so doing.
Science is the know-how; the art is the doing; the
philosophy consists in the reasons why of phenomena, as explained by a
knowledge of the powers and laws which govern them.
The science of chiropractic embraces the principles
and demonstrated facts of bioilogy.
The science of dynamics includes the principles and
facts of machinery.
The science of chiropractic and that of machinery
have no resemblance whatever, in their motive force. That being a
fact, why try to illustrate either one by the principles belonging to the
other? Just as well try to explain the science of grammar by
that of astronomy; geography by mathematics; chemistry by agriculture;
or that of music by navigation. Man is not a machine.
The science of chiropractic is in no way related
to the science of machinery. Its phenomena are dependent upon vital
force, not that of dynamics.
The structure of the body is defined under that of
anatomy, not metalography -- a treatise on metals.
Bodily functions depend upon vital force, not dynamics.
The existence of metals, whether in the form of machinery or that of ore,
depends upon certain inanimate qualities, whereas the existence of animals
depends upon functions.
Vital philosophy and mechanical philosophy are not
correlated, they are radically and entirely different.
The laws which govern the existence of animated
beings and that of animated objects differ.
Chiropractic science is being enlarged and urged
on to a higher development by the demands of the art of vertebral adjusting.
Why not make use of the knowledge which composes the science?
In chiropractic, you should discriminate between
science and art. Science depends upon principles, and art upon practice.
The theories of chiropractic become demonstrated
facts, the practice an art.
Biology and chiropractic include vital phenomena
in contradistinction to physical facts; those functions, energies and acts
that depend upon life, as manifested by contrast to those which exist without
A prominent writer aims to make a record in chiropractic
by affirming that he is the author, formulator and constructor of the science
of chiropractic; that the essence (the essential principles) is love, patience,
perseverance, truth and equality; that these principles constitute its
highest standard, wonderful beauty and simplicity. Love, patience,
perseverance, truth and equality as principles belong to the Sunday School
or the lodge room of some benevolent organization; as five principles they
are not found among the 500 which the founder of chiropractic uses to compose
Why not learn chiropractic as a science? Why
not be specific in adjusting? Why not learn the specific cause of
typhoid fever, acquire the knowledge of why, how and where adjust for it?
Why not comprehend the how and the why organs and parts of the body are
affected by displaced vertebrae? Why not know that hemiplegia is
because of the displacement of the sixth dorsal vertebra, that one-half
of the body may be affected by the fibers of that nerve? Why not
become acquainted with the proper method of adjusting that vertebra?
Why not learn of the two ganglionic chains of the sympathetic nervous system
which reach from the occiput to the coccyx, its plexus of nerves extending
into the cranium, the fibers of which unite with the cranial nerves, and
that these vertebral cords are distributing agencies of organic life, reaching
to all the viscera?
Why not learn that the neuroskeleton is a protector
of the central nervous system, and that when any portion thereof is displaced
it is a disturber of vibration, heat and other functions? Why not
learn to use the vertebral processes as levers to replace luxated vertebrae?
Science is knowledge, ascertained facts, accumulated,
systematized information regarding causes and principles. Why not
correlate and reduce to a system these principles; why not make them practical?
Why not learn to reason from cause to effect? Why not become acquainted
with physiological and pathological processes in health and disease?
Why not obtain knowledge regarding pyorrhea alveolaris;
why not ascertain the fact that a discharge of pus from the margin of the
gums, granulated eyelids, bleareyes, kidney affections, diseases of the
sebaceious glands, and some headaches are because of a K. P. luxation,
that two or more of these diseases may be associated, may result from over-tension
on the fibers of one nerve which ramify the portions affected?
Why not be able to make a distinction between the
diseased conditions arising from the tight, rigid, strained nerves of the
third cervical and twelfth dorsal?
Why remain satisfied with a meager knowledge of the science,
art and philosophy of chiropractic? Why not advance onward and upward
toward perfection, why remain on the lower rounds, why not exert yourself and
become eminent in your line of work instead of kicking down the ladder upon
which others are climbing?