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May 2001

On the Importance of Definition in Dermatology and All Fields of Human Endeavor

Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(5):664-665. doi:

Dr Ackerman1 did not go far enough in his reply to Dr Gniadecki.2 He did not explain what definitions refer to and why they are so important to the human mind.

Dr Gniadecki's position on the status of definitions in dermatology is tantamount to an outright assault on knowledge itself.2 When Dr Gniadecki likens definitions to descriptions, he undercuts the ability of a person to form a definition, because he makes no attempt to address the entities in nature that give rise to a concept, and in turn to the definition, which is "a statement that identifies the nature of units subsumed under a concept."3(p.40)