August 1975

"Hobson's Choice" Clarification

Author Affiliations

Rochester, NY

New York

Arch Intern Med. 1975;135(8):1129. doi:10.1001/archinte.1975.00330080131022

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To the Editor.  —Wessler and his co-authors tried to introduce a touch of class in their article titled "Coumarin Therapy in Acute Myocardial Infarction" in the Archives (134:774-779, 1974). The article was subtitled "A Hobson's Choice," and the authors characterized that dilemma as the difficult choice between two alternatives, to use anticoagulant therapy or not. In reality, a Hobson's Choice is not this dilemma but describes a choice where there is no dilemma at all—Hobson's Choice historically represents a situation where there is no choice or the choice is a sham.Tobias Hobson rented horses for hard-riding scholars to make the trip between Cambridge and London in the 1700s. When a person came for a mount, he was led to the stable where there was a plethora of well-fitted horses. Despite the apparent wide choice, Hobson required the next renter to take the horse nearest the stable door so that

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