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October 6, 1883


JAMA. 1883;I(13):385-387. doi:10.1001/jama.1883.02390130005001e

[Read before the Philadelphia County Medical Society Sept. 26, 1883.]

In his work on the descent of man, Mr. Charles Darwin, of blessed memory, remarks that he made in the course of his studies a large collection of the definitions which have been offered as expressing the distinctions between man and the lower animals. The primary object of this collection was to show the insufficiency of such definitions, but unfortunately the learned author abandoned his plan and the list was never published. I have always regretted this because I was anxious to see if any one has been bold enough to sacrifice the honor of the race to its independence; in other words, to define the human being as the only animal in which natural passions are abused and unnatural appetites developed. Though it may be a pessimistic view of human nature, yet we cannot avoid the conclusion that the