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November 1970

A Perspective on Uremic Toxins

Author Affiliations

Manchester, England

From the Department of Medicine, the Royal Infirmary, Manchester, England.

Arch Intern Med. 1970;126(5):906-909. doi:10.1001/archinte.1970.00310110176032

Even if we could invariably tell them from one another, error and its genesis are no less interesting than correct information, and indeed it is often by way of testable error that we arrive (should we be fortunate) at truth. I make no excuse, therefore, if I dwell for a moment on what may be called the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. I first became conscious of this in a biological context from reading an essay by R. G. Macfarlane1 in which he says, "A great deal of trouble has arisen from the very common use of a specific term to describe not a single substance, but perhaps a group of substances or even some effect or phenomenon, a tendency by no means limited to blood coagulation work." Coming nearer the kidney, the same criticism was implied in the epigrammatic title "Which factor is third?" chosen by R. W. Berliner

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