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May 21, 1892


JAMA. 1892;XVIII(21):654-655. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02411250024010

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Naturalists have sometimes been criticised for the great amount of time which they put on classification of specimens. It does sometimes seem that the efforts of some workers in paleontology, for instance, never rise above attempts to detect minute, and perhaps unimportant differences between specimens, for the purpose of naming new species, or new varieties. Such work is often open to the objection of Agassiz, that it is "too much descriptive and not enough comparative." But classification in its proper sphere is invaluable. But it should follow, not lead. When revised classification is based upon new discoveries of relations, it becomes an outline of the advance, and a faithful mirror of progress.

Probably the most elaborate attempt to classify diseases, was that made by Dr. Mason Good, in his famous "Study of Medicine." His division of diseases into classes, orders, families, genera, species, etc., was unfortunately one not adapted to

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