Comparison is an indispensable technique of analytic scholarship. No analytic statement about empirical observation can be made without at least one comparison providing the contrast that permits either inductive generalization or deductive proof. Comparison is used for these purposes in all disciplines, but not always in the same way, or for the same reasons. Anthropology came to comparison because comparison was thrust on it by the rediscovery of classical antiquity and the opening of Africa, Asia, and the New World to a previously more isolated Europe. Indeed, anthropology was born as a response to the great cultural contrasts thus exposed. This philosophical child of comparison, however, pursued it in some very special ways. In the first place, the initial interests of anthropology lay in the reconstruction of an unknown human past, attempting to explain cultural variety through the reconstruction of events leading up to the present. In the second place, the comparisons drawn by anthropologists were usually extreme, prompted as they were by the shock value of new discoveries.