Understanding the Placebo Effect in Complementary Medicine: Theory, Practice, and Research

By David Peters | Go to book overview

12
The placebo effect and a participatory
world view
John Heron
Inquiry paradigms
The cartesian anomaly
The downfall of positivism
A participatory world view
Four ways of knowing
Critical subjectivity
Methodology of cooperative inquiry
The body as a subjective—objective reality
Formative intentionality of the experiential body
Formative intentionality of illness and of recreating wellness
Symbolizing the experiential body
The formative power of others' experiential knowing
Supportive data
The relevance and limits of conventional medical research
The relevance of cooperative inquiry
A cooperative inquiry project exploring self-healing response
Obstacles to participative medical research
Membership and roles
The stages of the project
Cycles of inquiry
Validity in the inquiry
Completing the inquiry
Conclusion: applying cooperative inquiry

Editor's note

I wanted to include a viewpoint that I believe can help us make sense of the paradox of the placebo effect, which has become such a problem for modern medicine and for research. Might it be less of a problem for our practitioner authors precisely because they do not assume a separated mind and body? To a theorist like Hellman or a practitioner like Steve Wright we live in a fundamentally relational world, but how can research design take account of this seamlessness? It means that when researching into self-healing responses we cannot avoid, whether as researchers or 'subjects' of research, being necessarily involved in determining the outcome. And, since we are doing something to the process and outcome of the very thing we are trying to study, we must consider how to judge the quality of our doing and being. I turned to John Heron and asked him to suggest a design that could draw out and take account of factors influencing these mysterious self-healing outcomes. John is an applied philosopher who has helped shape an emerging participatory worldview. Because it is systemic, holistic, relational and experiential, it can lay claim to being a more adequate and creative paradigm for our times. It competes with both modern positivism and with

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