The debate over the metaphysical elements of Palmer's theories, and in chiropractic generally, has been a long and frequently bitter one. This article attempts to show the illogicality of both sides of the debate by reviewing the role of metaphysics in science and the discussions of metaphysics in philosophy. Within philosophy, metaphysics have been viewed, at least by those who do not object to them outright, as heuristic devices, which, although they cannot be subjected to either confirmation or refutation (that is, we cannot know if they are true or false), can be subjected to rational criticism. Furthermore, the article suggests that a critical confrontation with Palmer's metaphysical constructs should begin with a critique of vitalism, the philosophical source of these constructs (innate and universal intelligence).
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