Nosology by Thomas A. Ban

Nosology is the discipline that deals with “theory” that provides organizing principles for identifying and classifying disease ((Ban 2000; Jaspers 1913;  Shorter 2005).  The term first appeared, in 1743, in Robert James’ Medical Dictionary (James 1743) and was adopted, in 1763, in the title of Francois Boissier de Sauvages Nosologia Methodica. The use of the term was conceptually derived and is based on Sauvages’ stipulation that a disease should be defined by the enumeration of symptoms that suffice to recognize it and distinguish it from other diseases, and a classification should be devised in a manner that it should allow the attribution of each patient to one and only one class (Sauvages 1763).

Ban TA. Nosology in the teaching of psychiatry. Jbras Psiquiatr2000; 49: 9-49.

James R. Medical Dictionary. London: J. Osborne; 1743.

Jaspers K; Allgemeine Psychpathologie. Elin: Springer; 1913.

Sauvages F. Boissier. Nosologia methodica sistens morborum classes, genera et species, juxta 

Sydenhami mentem  et botanicorum  ordinem. Amsterdam: Frat des Tournes; 1763-8.

Shorter E. A Historical Dictionary of Psychiatry. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press; 2005.


Thomas A. Ban
September 24, 2015