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June 11, 1892

Sir William Gull's Seal: A Confession of Faith.

JAMA. 1892;XVIII(24):756. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02411280032006

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Abstract

—A paragraph in the obituary note, concerning the late Dr. Gull, to be found in the last Guy's Hospital Reports, is interesting as showing an ultimate proposition of a mind given equally to medicine and philosophy.

Sir William laid no little stress upon literary forms of expression. To some he seemed fanciful in his ways of putting things. "A motto which he invented for himself pleased him so much that during the leisure of his last illness he not only had a seal engraved with the words, but he had them printed on a slip of paper as a kind of memento. It was: Conceptio Dei, Negatio mei, Ratio rei. That is: All knowledge begins with materialism—with skepticism —with getting at actual bare objective facts, the thing itself—the investigation of phenomena, the linking together of necessary cause and effect; that is, the intellectual part of knowledge; and unless that is

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