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October 27, 1883


JAMA. 1883;I(16):482-486. doi:10.1001/jama.1883.02390160018001c

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[Read to the Tri-State Medical Society, Chicago.]

In proposing a subject for your consideration and discussion, it would seem proper to present at the same time its definition—to fix limits for the scope of the thoughts which shall be occupied with it; to assign sign bounds for the mental operations which may comprehend it.

It would be scarcely an exaggeration to say that the most of the conflicts, arising in the course of philosophical discussion, have their origin in ambiguities of language and variations in verbal definition, rather than in essential differences of thought or opinion. Let a proposition be stated in terms so clear, to the mind of the originator, that no room seems to remain for a different interpretation, and yet differences will arise therefrom so wide and so varied as to astonish and confound the author, with the perplexity which he has occasioned.

But a duty so

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