FRANCIS BACON: THE NEW ORGANON


Francis Bacon Novum Organum - THE NEW ORGANON, OR TRUE DIRECTIONS CONCERNING THE INTERPRETATION OF NATURE

Book I Preface, followed by aphorisms 1-68

Preface
Aphorisms
Aphorism 10
Aphorism 20
Aphorism 30
Aphorism 40
Aphorism 50
Aphorism 60
Book I Aphorisms 67-130
Book II Aphorisms 1-37
Book II Aphorisms 38-52

LatinEnglish
PRAEFATIO. Qui de natura, tanquam de re explorata, pronuntiare ausi sunt, sive hoc ex animi fiducia fecerint sive ambitiose et more professorio, maximis illi philosophiam et scientias detrimentis affecere. Ut enim ad fidem faciendam validi, ita etiam ad inquisitionem extinguendam et abrumpendam efficaces fuerunt. Neque virtute propria tantum profuerunt, quantum in hoc nocuerunt, quod aliorum virtutem corruperint et perdiderint. Qui autem contrariam huic viam ingressi sunt atque nihil prorsus sciri posse asseruerunt, sive ex sophistarum veterum odio sive ex animi fluctuatione aut etiam ex quadam doctrinae copia in hanc opinionem delapsi sint, certe non contemnendas ejus rationes adduxerunt ; veruntamen nec a veris initiis sententiam suam derivarunt, et, studio quodam atque affectatione provecti, prorsus modum excesserunt. At antiquiores ex Graecis (quorum scripta perierunt) inter pronuntiandi jactantiam et Acatalepsiae desperationem prudentius se sustinverunt : atque de inquisitionis difficultate et rerum obscuritate saepius querimonias et indignationes miscentes, et veluti fraenum mordentes, tamen propositum urgere atque naturae se immiscere non destiterunt ; consentaneum (ut videtur) existimantes, hoc ipsum (videlicet utrum aliquid sciri possit) non disputare, sed experiri. Et tamen illi ipsi, impetu tantum intellectus usi, regulam non adhibuerunt, sed omnia in acri meditatione et mentis volutatione et agitatione perpetua posuerunt. Those who have taken upon them to lay down the law of nature as a thing already searched out and understood, whether they have spoken in simple assurance or professional affectation, have therein done philosophy and the sciences great injury. For as they have been successful in inducing belief, so they have been effective in quenching and stopping inquiry; and have done more harm by spoiling and putting an end to other men's efforts than good by their own. Those on the other hand who have taken a contrary course, and asserted that absolutely nothing can be known whether it were from hatred of the ancient sophists, or from uncertainty and fluctuation of mind, or even from a kind of fullness of learning, that they fell upon this opinion have certainly advanced reasons for it that are not to be despised; but yet they have neither started from true principles nor rested in the just conclusion, zeal and affectation having carried them much too far. The more ancient of the Greeks (whose writings are lost) took up with better judgment a position between these two extremes between the presumption of pronouncing on everything, and the despair of comprehending anything; and though frequently and bitterly complaining of the difficulty of inquiry and the obscurity of things, and like impatient horses champing at the bit, they did not the less follow up their object and engage with nature, thinking (it seems) that this very question viz., whether or not anything can be known was to be settled not by arguing, but by trying. And yet they too, trusting entirely to the force of their understanding, applied no rule, but made everything turn upon hard thinking and perpetual working and exercise of the mind.
Nostra autem ratio, ut opere ardua, ita dictu facilis est. Ea enim est, ut certitudinis gradus constituamus, sensum per reductionem quandam tueamur, sed mentis opus quod sensum subsequitur plerunque rejiciamus ; novam autem et certam viam, ab ipsis sensuum perceptionibus, menti aperiamus et muniamus. Atque hoc proculdubio viderunt et illi qui tantas dialecticae partes tribuerunt. Ex quo liquet, illos intellectui adminicula quaesivisse, mentis autem processum nativum et sponte moventem, suspectum habuisse. Sed serum plane rebus perditis hoc adhibetur remedium ; postquam mens ex quotidiana vitae consuetudine, et auditionibus et doctrinis inquinatis occupata, et vanissimis idolis obsessa fuerit. Itaque ars illa dialecticae, sero (ut diximus) cavens, neque rem ullo modo restituens, ad errores potius figendos quam ad veritatem aperiendam valuit. Restat unica salus ac sanitas, ut opus mentis universum de integro resumatur ; ac mens, jam ab ipso principio, nullo modo sibi permittatur, sed perpetuo regatur ; ac res veluti per machinas conficiatur. Sane si homines opera mechanica nudis manibus, absque instrumentorum vi et ope, aggressi essent, quemadmodum opera intellectualia nudis fere mentis viribus tractare non dubitarunt, parvae admodum fuissent res quas movere et vincere potuissent, licet operas enixas atque etiam conjunctas praestitissent. Atque si paulisper morari, atque in hoc ipsum exemplum, veluti in speculum, intueri velimus ; exquiramus (si placet) si forte obeliscus aliquis magnitudine insignis ad triumphi vel hujusmodi magnificentiae decus transferendus esset, atque id homines nudis manibus aggrederentur, annon hoc magnae cujusdam esse dementiae spectator quispiam rei sobrius fateretur? Quod si numerum augerent operariorum, atque hoc modo se valere posse confiderent, annon tanto magis? Sin autem delectum quendam adhibere vellent, atque imbecilliores separare, et robustis tantum et vigentibus uti, atque hinc saltem se voti compotes fore sperarent, annon adhuc eos impensius delirare diceret? Quin etiam si hoc ipso non contenti, artem tandem athleticam consulere statuerent, ac omnes deinceps manibus et lacertis et nervis ex arte bene unctis et medicatis adesse juberent, annon prorsus eos dare operam ut cum ratione quadam et prudentia insanirent, clamaret? Atque homines tamen simili malesano impetu et conspiratione inutili feruntur in intellectualibus ; dum ab ingeniorum vel multitudine et consensu vel excellentia et acumine magna sperant, aut etiam dialectica (quae quaedam athletica censeri possit) mentis nervos roborant ; sed interim, licet tanto studio et conatu, (si quis vere judicaverit) intellectum nudum applicare non desinunt. Manifestissimum autem est, in omni opere magno, quod manus hominis praestat, sine instrumentis et machinis, vires nec singulorum intendi nec omnium coire posse. Now my method, though hard to practice, is easy to explain; and it is this. I propose to establish progressive stages of certainty. The evidence of the sense, helped and guarded by a certain process of correction, I retain. But the mental operation which follows the act of sense I for the most part reject; and instead of it I open and lay out a new and certain path for the mind to proceed in, starting directly from the simple sensuous perception. The necessity of this was felt, no doubt, by those who attributed so much importance to logic, showing thereby that they were in search of helps for the understanding, and had no confidence in the native and spontaneous process of the mind. But this remedy comes too late to do any good, when the mind is already, through the daily intercourse and conversation of life, occupied with unsound doctrines and beset on all sides by vain imaginations. And therefore that art of logic, coming (as I said) too late to the rescue, and no way able to set matters right again, has had the effect of fixing errors rather than disclosing truth. There remains but one course for the recovery of a sound and healthy condition namely, that the entire work of the understanding be commenced afresh, and the mind itself be from the very outset not left to take its own course, but guided at every step; and the business be done as if by machinery. Certainly if in things mechanical men had set to work with their naked hands, without help or force of instruments, just as in things intellectual they have set to work with little else than the naked forces of the understanding, very small would the matters have been which, even with their best efforts applied in conjunction, they could have attempted or accomplished. Now (to pause a while upon this example and look in it as in a glass) let us suppose that some vast obelisk were (for the decoration of a triumph or some such magnificence) to be removed from its place, and that men should set to work upon it with their naked hands, would not any sober spectator think them mad? And if they should then send for more people, thinking that in that way they might manage it, would he not think them all the madder? And if they then proceeded to make a selection, putting away the weaker hands, and using only the strong and vigorous, would he not think them madder than ever? And if lastly, not content with this, they resolved to call in aid the art of athletics, and required all their men to come with hands, arms, and sinews well anointed and medicated according to the rules of the art, would he not cry out that they were only taking pains to show a kind of method and discretion in their madness? Yet just so it is that men proceed in matters intellectual with just the same kind of mad effort and useless combination of forces when they hope great things either from the number and cooperation or from the excellency and acuteness of individual wits; yea, and when they endeavor by logic (which may be considered as a kind of athletic art) to strengthen the sinews of the understanding, and yet with all this study and endeavor it is apparent to any true judgment that they are but applying the naked intellect all the time; whereas in every great work to be done by the hand of man it is manifestly impossible, without instruments and machinery, either for the strength of each to be exerted or the strength of all to be united.
Itaque ex his quae diximus praemissis, statuimus duas esse res de quibus homines plane monitos volumus, ne forte illae eos fugiant aut praetereant. Quarum prima hujusmodi est ; fieri fato quodam (ut existimamus) bono, ad extinguendas et depellendas contradictiones et tumores animorum, ut et veteribus honor et reverentia intacta et imminuta maneant, et nos destinata perficere et tamen modestiae nostrae fructum percipere possimus. Nam nos, si profiteamur nos meliora afferre quam antiqui, eandem quam illi viam ingressi, nulla verborum arte efficere possimus, quin inducatur quaedam ingenii vel excellentiae vel facultatis comparatio sive contentio ; non ea quidem illicita aut nova ; -- quidni enim possimus pro jure nostro (neque eo ipso alio, quam omnium) si quid apud eos non recte inventum aut positum sit, reprehendere aut notare? -- sed tamen utcunque justa aut permissa, nihilominus impar fortasse fuisset ea ipsa contentio, ob virium nostrarum modum. Verum quum per nos illud agatur, ut alia omnino via intellectui aperiatur illis intentata et incognita, commutata jam ratio est ; cessant studium et partes ; nosque indicis tantummodo personam sustinemus, quod mediocris certe est authoritatis, et fortunae cujusdam potius quam facultatis et excellentiae. Atque haec moniti species ad personas pertinet ; altera ad res ipsas. Upon these premises two things occur to me of which, that they may not be overlooked, I would have men reminded. First, it falls out fortunately as I think for the allaying of contradictions and heartburnings, that the honor and reverence due to the ancients remains untouched and undiminished, while I may carry out my designs and at the same time reap the fruit of my modesty. For if I should profess that I, going the same road as the ancients, have something better to produce, there must needs have been some comparison or rivalry between us (not to be avoided by any art of words) in respect of excellency or ability of wit; and though in this there would be nothing unlawful or new (for if there be anything misapprehended by them, or falsely laid down, why may not I, using a liberty common to all, take exception to it?) yet the contest, however just and allowable, would have been an unequal one perhaps, in respect of the measure of my own powers. As it is, however (my object being to open a new way for the understanding, a way by them untried and unknown), the case is altered: party zeal and emulation are at an end, and I appear merely as a guide to point out the road an office of small authority, and depending more upon a kind of luck than upon any ability or excellency. And thus much relates to the persons only. The other point of which I would have men reminded relates to the matter itself.
Nos siquidem de deturbanda ea quae nunc floret philosophia, aut si quae alia sit aut erit hac emendatior aut auctior, minime laboramus. Neque enim officimus, quin philosophia ista recepta, et aliae id genus, disputationes alant, sermones ornent, ad professoria munera et vitae civilis compendia adhibeantur et valeant. Quin etiam aperte significamus et declaramus, eam quam nos adducimus philosophiam ad istas res admodum utilem non futuram. Non praesto est, neque in transitu capitur, neque ex praenotionibus intellectui blanditur, neque ad vulgi captum nisi per utilitatem et effecta descendet. Be it remembered then that I am far from wishing to interfere with the philosophy which now flourishes, or with any other philosophy more correct and complete than this which has been or may hereafter be propounded. For I do not object to the use of this received philosophy, or others like it, for supplying matter for disputations or ornaments for discourse for the professor's lecture and for the business of life. Nay, more, I declare openly that for these uses the philosophy which I bring forward will not be much available. It does not lie in the way. It cannot be caught up in passage. It does not flatter the understanding by conformity with preconceived notions. Nor will it come down to the apprehension of the vulgar except by its utility and effects.
Sint itaque (quod foelix faustumque sit utrique parti) duae doctrinarum emanationes, ac duae dispensationes ; duae similiter contemplantium sive philosophantium tribus ac veluti cognationes ; atque illae neutiquam inter se inimicae aut alienae, sed foederatae et mutuis auxiliis devinctae : sit denique alia scientias colendi, alia inveniendi ratio. Atque quibus prima potior et acceptior est, ob festinationem, vel vitae civilis rationes, vel quod illam alteram ob mentis infirmitatem capere et complecti non possint (id quod longe plurimis accidere necesse est), optamus ut iis foeliciter et ex voto succedat quod agunt, atque ut quod sequuntur teneant. Quod si cui mortalium cordi et curae sit, non tantum inventis haerere atque iis uti, sed ad ulteriora penetrate ; atque non disputando adversarium, sed opere naturam vincere ; denique, non belle et probabiliter opinari, sed certo et ostensive scire ; tales, tanquam veri scientiarum filii, nobis (si videbitur) se adjungant ; ut omissis naturae atriis, quae infiniti contriverunt, aditus aliquando ad interiora patefiat. Atque ut melius intelligamur, utque illud ipsum quod volumus ex nominibus impositis magis familiariter occurrat, altera ratio sive via Anticipatio Mentis, altera Interpretatio Naturae, a nobis appellari consuevit. Let there be therefore (and may it be for the benefit of both) two streams and two dispensations of knowledge, and in like manner two tribes or kindreds of students in philosophy tribes not hostile or alien to each other, but bound together by mutual services; let there in short be one method for the cultivation, another for the invention, of knowledge. And for those who prefer the former, either from hurry or from considerations of business or for want of mental power to take in and embrace the other (which must needs be most men's case), I wish that they may succeed to their desire in what they are about, and obtain what they are pursuing. But if there be any man who, not content to rest in and use the knowledge which has already been discovered, aspires to penetrate further; to overcome, not an adversary in argument, but nature in action; to seek, not pretty and probable conjectures, but certain and demonstrable knowledge I invite all such to join themselves, as true sons of knowledge, with me, that passing by the outer courts of nature, which numbers have trodden, we may find a way at length into her inner chambers. And to make my meaning clearer and to familiarize the thing by giving it a name, I have chosen to call one of these methods or ways Anticipation of the Mind, the other Interpretation of Nature.
Est etiam quod petendum videtur. Nos certe cogitationem suscepimus et curam adhibuimus, ut quae a nobis proponentur non tantum vera essent, sed etiam ad animos hominum (licet miris modis occupatos et interclusos) non incommode aut aspere accederent. Veruntamen aequum est, ut ab hominibus impetremus (in tanta praesertim doctrinarum et scientiarum restauratione) ut qui de hisce nostris aliquid, sive ex sensu proprio, sive ex authoritatum turba, sive ex demonstrationum formis (quae nunc tanquam leges quaedam judicialis invaluerunt), statuere aut existimare velit, ne id in transitu et velut aliud agendo facere se posse speret ; sed ut rem pernoscat ; nostram, quam describimus et munimus, viam ipse paullatim tentet ; subtilitati rerum quae in experientia signata est assuescat ; pravos denique atque alte haerentes mentis habitus tempestiva et quasi legitima mora corrigat ; atque tum demum (si placuerit) postquam in potestate sua esse coeperit, judicio suo utatur. Moreover, I have one request to make. I have on my own part made it my care and study that the things which I shall propound should not only be true, but should also be presented to men's minds, how strangely soever preoccupied and obstructed, in a manner not harsh or unpleasant. It is but reasonable, however (especially in so great a restoration of learning and knowledge), that I should claim of men one favor in return, which is this: if anyone would form an opinion or judgment either out of his own observation, or out of the crowd of authorities, or out of the forms of demonstration (which have now acquired a sanction like that of judicial laws), concerning these speculations of mine, let him not hope that he can do it in passage or by the by; but let him examine the thing thoroughly; let him make some little trial for himself of the way which I describe and lay out; let him familiarize his thoughts with that subtlety of nature to which experience bears witness; let him correct by seasonable patience and due delay the depraved and deep-rooted habits of his mind; and when all this is done and he has begun to be his own master, let him (if he will) use his own judgment.
I.
HOMO, naturae minister et interpres, tantum facit et intelligit quantum de naturae ordine re vel mente observaverit : nec amplius scit, aut potest. Man, being the servant and interpreter of Nature, can do and understand so much and so much only as he has observed in fact or in thought of the course of nature. Beyond this he neither knows anything nor can do anything.
II.
Nec manus nuda, nec intellectus sibi permissus, multum valet ; instrumentis et auxiliis res perficitur ; quibus opus est, non minus ad intellectum, quam ad manum. Atque ut instrumenta manus motum aut cient aut regunt ; ita et instrumenta mentis intellectui aut suggerunt aut cavent. Neither the naked hand nor the understanding left to itself can effect much. It is by instruments and helps that the work is done, which are as much wanted for the understanding as for the hand. And as the instruments of the hand either give motion or guide it, so the instruments of the mind supply either suggestions for the understanding or cautions.
III. III
Scientia et potentia humana in idem coincidunt, quia ignoratio causae destituit effectum. Natura enim non nisi parendo vincitur : et quod in contemplatione instar causae est, id in operatione instar regulae est. Human knowledge and human power meet in one; for where the cause is not known the effect cannot be produced. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed; and that which in contemplation is as the cause is in operation as the rule.
IV. IV
Ad opera nil aliud potest homo, quam ut corpora naturalia admoveat et amoveat : reliqua natura intus transigit. Toward the effecting of works, all that man can do is to put together or put asunder natural bodies. The rest is done by nature working within.
V. V
Solent se immiscere naturae (quoad opera) mechanicus, mathematicus, medicus, alchemista, et magus ; sed omnes (ut nunc sunt res) conatu levi, successu tenui. The study of nature with a view to works is engaged in by the mechanic, the mathematician, the physician, the alchemist, and the magician; but by all (as things now are) with slight endeavor and scanty success.
VI. VI
Insanum quiddam esset, et in se contrarium, existimare ea, quae adhuc nunquam facta sunt, fieri posse, nisi per modos adhuc nunquam tentatos. It would be an unsound fancy and self-contradictory to expect that things which have never yet been done can be done except by means which have never yet been tried.
VII. VII
Generationes mentis et manus numerosae admodum videntur in libris et opificiis. Sed omnis ista varietas sita est in subtilitate eximia, et derivationibus paucarum rerum, quae innotuerunt ; non in numero axiomatum. The productions of the mind and hand seem very numerous in books and manufactures. But all this variety lies in an exquisite subtlety and derivations from a few things already known, not in the number of axioms.
VIII. VIII
Etiam opera, quae jam inventa sunt, casui debentur et experientiae, magis quam scientiis : scientiae enim, quas nunc habemus, nihil aliud sunt quam quaedam concinnationes rerum antea inventarum ; non modi inveniendi, aut designationes novorum operum. Moreover, the works already known are due to chance and experiment rather than to sciences; for the sciences we now possess are merely systems for the nice ordering and setting forth of things already invented, not methods of invention or directions for new works.
IX. IX
Causa vero et radix fere omnium malorum in scientiis ea una est; quod dum mentis humanae vires falso miramur et extollimus, vera ejus auxilia non quaeramus. The cause and root of nearly all evils in the sciences is this that while we falsely admire and extol the powers of the human mind we neglect to seek for its true helps.
X. X
Subtilitas naturae subtilitatem sensus et intellectus multis partibus superat ; ut pulchrae illae meditationes et speculationes humanae et causationes res malesana sint, nisi quod non adsit qui advertat. The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding; so that all those specious meditations, speculations, and glosses in which men indulge are quite from the purpose, only there is no one by to observe it.
XI. XI
Sicut scientiae, quae nunc habentur, inutiles sunt ad inventionem operum ; ita et logica, quae nunc habetur, inutilis est ad inventionem scientiarum. As the sciences which we now have do not help us in finding out new works, so neither does the logic which we now have help us in finding out new sciences.
XII. XII
Logica, quae in usu est, ad errores (qui in notionibus vulgaribus fundantur) stabiliendos et figendos valet, potius quam ad inquisitionem veritatis ; ut magis damnosa sit, quam utilis. The logic now in use serves rather to fix and give stability to the errors which have their foundation in commonly received notions than to help the search after truth. So it does more harm than good.
XIII. XIII
Syllogismus ad principia scientiarum non adhibetur, ad media axiomata frustra adhibetur, cum sit subtilitati naturae longe impar. Assensum itaque constringit, non res. The syllogism is not applied to the first principles of sciences, and is applied in vain to intermediate axioms, being no match for the subtlety of nature. It commands assent therefore to the proposition, but does not take hold of the thing.
XIV. XIV
Syllogismus ex propositionibus constat, propositiones ex verbis, verba notionum tesserae sunt. Itaque si notiones ipsae (id quod basis rei est) confusae sint, et temere a rebus abstractae ; nihil in iis, quae superstruuntur, est firmitudinis. Itaque spes est una in inductione vera. The syllogism consists of propositions, propositions consist of words, words are symbols of notions. Therefore if the notions themselves (which is the root of the matter) are confused and overhastily abstracted from the facts, there can be no firmness in the superstructure. Our only hope therefore lies in a true induction.
XV. XV
In notionibus nil sani est, nec in logicis, nec in physicis : non substantia, non qualitas, agere, pati, ipsum esse, bonae notiones sunt ; multo minus grave, leve, densum, tenue, humidum, siccum , generatio, corruptio, attrahere, fugare, elementum, materia, forma, et id genus ; sed omnes phantasticae et male terminatae. There is no soundness in our notions, whether logical or physical. Substance, Quality, Action, Passion, Essence itself, are not sound notions; much less are Heavy, Light, Dense, Rare, Moist, Dry, Generation, Corruption, Attraction, Repulsion, Element, Matter, Form, and the like; but all are fantastical and ill defined.
XVI. XVI
Notiones infimarum specierum, hominis, canis, columbae, et prehensionum immediatarum sensus, calidi, frigidi, albi, nigri, non fallunt magnopere ; quae tamen ipsae a fluxu materiae et commissione rerum quandoque confunduntur ; reliquae omnes (quibus homines hactenus usi sunt) aberrationes sunt, nec debitis modis a rebus abstractae et excitatae. Our notions of less general species, as Man, Dog, Dove, and of the immediate perceptions of the sense, as Hot, Cold, Black, White, do not materially mislead us; yet even these are sometimes confused by the flux and alteration of matter and the mixing of one thing with another. All the others which men have hitherto adopted are but wanderings, not being abstracted and formed from things by proper methods.
XVII. XVII
Nec minor est libido et aberratio in constituendis axiomatibus, quam in notionibus abstrahendis ; idque in ipsis principiis, quae ab inductione vulgari pendent. At multo major est in axiomatibus, et propositionibus inferioribus, quae educit syllogismus. Nor is there less of willfulness and wandering in the construction of axioms than in the formation of notions, not excepting even those very principles which are obtained by common induction; but much more in the axioms and lower propositions educed by the syllogism.
XVIII. XVIII
Quae adhuc inventa sunt in scientiis, ea hujusmodi sunt, ut notionibus vulgaribus fere subjaceant : ut vero ad interiora et remotiora naturae penetretur, necesse est ut tam notiones quam axiomata magis certa et munita via a rebus abstrahantur, atque omnino melior et certior intellectus adoperatio in usum veniat. The discoveries which have hitherto been made in the sciences are such as lie close to vulgar notions, scarcely beneath the surface. In order to penetrate into the inner and further recesses of nature, it is necessary that both notions and axioms be derived from things by a more sure and guarded way, and that a method of intellectual operation be introduced altogether better and more certain.
XIX. XIX
Duae viae sunt, atque esse possunt, ad inquirendam et inveniendam veritatem. Altera a sensu et particularibus advolat ad axiomata maxime generalia, atque ex iis principiis eorumque immota veritate judicat et invenit axiomata media ; atque haec via in usu est. Altera a sensu et particularibus excitat axiomata, ascendendo continenter et gradatim, ut ultimo loco perveniatur ad maxime generalia ; quae via vera est, sed intentata. There are and can be only two ways of searching into and discovering truth. The one flies from the senses and particulars to the most general axioms, and from these principles, the truth of which it takes for settled and immovable, proceeds to judgment and to the discovery of middle axioms. And this way is now in fashion. The other derives axioms from the senses and particulars, rising by a gradual and unbroken ascent, so that it arrives at the most general axioms last of all. This is the true way, but as yet untried.
XX. XX
Eandem ingreditur viam (priorem scilicet) intellectus sibi permissus, quam facit ex ordine dialecticae. Gestit enim mens exsilire ad magis generalia, ut acquiescat ; et post parvam moram fastidit experientiam : sed haec mala demum aucta sunt a dialectica ob pompas disputationum. The understanding left to itself takes the same course (namely, the former) which it takes in accordance with logical order. For the mind longs to spring up to positions of higher generality, that it may find rest there, and so after a little while wearies of experiment. But this evil is increased by logic, because of the order and solemnity of its disputations.
XXI. XXI
Intellectus sibi permissus, in ingenio sobrio et patiente et gravi (praesertim si a doctrinis receptis non impediatur), tentat nonnihil illam alteram viam, quae recta est, send exiguo profectu ; cum intellectus, nisi regatur et juvetur, res inaequalis sit, et omnino inhabilis ad superandam rerum obscuritatem. The understanding left to itself, in a sober, patient, and grave mind, especially if it be not hindered by received doctrines, tries a little that other way, which is the right one, but with little progress, since the understanding, unless directed and assisted, is a thing unequal, and quite unfit to contend with the obscurity of things.
XXII. XXII
Utraque via orditur a sensu et particularibus, et acquiescit in maxime generalibus : sed immensum quiddam discrepant ; cum altera perstringat tantum experientiam et particularia cursim ; altera in iis rite et ordine versetur ; altera rursus jam a principio constituat generalia quaedam abstracta et inutilia ; altera gradatim exsurgat ad ea quae revera naturae sunt notiora. Both ways set out from the senses and particulars, and rest in the highest generalities; but the difference between them is infinite. For the one just glances at experiment and particulars in passing, the other dwells duly and orderly among them. The one, again, begins at once by establishing certain abstract and useless generalities, the other rises by gradual steps to that which is prior and better known in the order of nature.
XXIII. XXIII
Non leve quiddam interest inter humanae mentis idola, et divinae mentis ideas ; hoc est, inter placita quaedam inania, et veras signaturas atque impressiones factas in creaturis, prout inveniuntur. There is a great difference between the Idols of the human mind and the Ideas of the divine. That is to say, between certain empty dogmas, and the true signatures and marks set upon the works of creation as they are found in nature.
XXIV. XXIV
Nullo modo fieri potest, ut axiomata per argumentationem constituta ad inventionem novorum operum valeant ; quia subtilitas naturae subtilitatem argumentandi multis partibus superat. Sed axiomata, a particularibus rite et ordine abstrata, nova particularia rursus facile indicant et designant ; itaque scientias reddunt activas. It cannot be that axioms established by argumentation should avail for the discovery of new works, since the subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of argument. But axioms duly and orderly formed from particulars easily discover the way to new particulars, and thus render sciences active.
XXV. XXV
Axiomata, quae in usu sunt, ex tenui et manipulari experientia, et paucis particularibus, quae ut plurimum occurrunt, fluxere ; et sunt fere ad mensuram eorum facta et extensa : ut nil mirum sit, si ad nova particularia non ducant. Quod si forte instantia aliqua, non prius animadversa aut cognita, se offerat, axioma distinctione aliqua frivola salvatur, ubi emendari ipsum verius foret. The axioms now in use, having been suggested by a scanty and manipular experience and a few particulars of most general occurrence, are made for the most part just large enough to fit and take these in; and therefore it is no wonder if they do not lead to new particulars. And if some opposite instance, not observed or not known before, chance to come in the way, the axiom is rescued and preserved by some frivolous distinction; whereas the truer course would be to correct the axiom itself.
XXVI. XXVI
Rationem humanam, qua utimur ad naturam, anticipationes naturae (quia res temeraria est et praematura), at illam rationem quae debitis modis elicitur a rebus, interpretationem naturae, docendi gratia, vocare consuevimus. The conclusions of human reason as ordinarily applied in matters of nature, I call for the sake of distinction Anticipations of Nature (as a thing rash or premature). That reason which is elicited from facts by a just and methodical process, I call Interpretation of Nature.
XXVII. XXVII
Anticipationes satis firmae sunt ad consensum ; quandoquidem, si homines etiam insanirent ad unum modum et conformiter, illi satis bene inter se congruere possent. Anticipations are a ground sufficiently firm for consent, for even if men went mad all after the same fashion, they might agree one with another well enough.
XXVIII. XXVIII
Quin longe validiores sunt ad subeundum assensum anticipationes, quam interpretationes ; quia ex paucis collectae, iisque maxime quae familiariter occurrunt, intellectum statim perstringunt, et phantasiam implent ; ubi contra, interpretationes, ex rebus admodum variis et multum distantibus sparsim collectae, intellectum subito percutere non possunt ; ut necesse sit eas, quoad opiniones, duras et absonas, fere instar mysteriorum fidei videri. For the winning of assent, indeed, anticipations are far more powerful than interpretations, because being collected from a few instances, and those for the most part of familiar occurrence, they straightway touch the understanding and fill the imagination; whereas interpretations, on the other hand, being gathered here and there from very various and widely dispersed facts, cannot suddenly strike the understanding; and therefore they must needs, in respect of the opinions of the time, seem harsh and out of tune, much as the mysteries of faith do.
XXIX. XXIX
In scientiis, quae in opinionibus et placitis fundatae sunt, bonus est usus anticipationum et dialecticae ; quando opus est assensum subjugare, non res. In sciences founded on opinions and dogmas, the use of anticipations and logic is good; for in them the object is to command assent to the proposition, not to master the thing.
XXX. XXX
Non, si omnia omnium aetatum ingenia coierint, et labores contulerint et transmiserint, progressus magnus fieri poterit in scientiis per anticipationes : quia errores radicales, et in prima digestione mentis, ab excellentia functionum et remediorum sequentium non curantur. Though all the wits of all the ages should meet together and combine and transmit their labors, yet will no great progress ever be made in science by means of anticipations; because radical errors in the first concoction of the mind are not to be cured by the excellence of functions and subsequent remedies.
XXXI. XXXI
Frustra magnum expectatur augmentum in scientiis ex superinductione et insitione novorum super vetera ; sed instauratio facienda est ab imis fundamentis, nisi libeat perpetuo circumvolvi in orbem, cum exili et quasi contemnendo progressu. It is idle to expect any great advancement in science from the superinducing and engrafting of new things upon old. We must begin anew from the very foundations, unless we would revolve forever in a circle with mean and contemptible progress.
XXXII. XXXII
Antiquis auctoribus suus constat honos, atque adeo omnibus ; quia non ingeniorum aut facultatum inducitur comparatio, sed viae ; nosque non judicis, sed indicis personam sustinemus. The honor of the ancient authors, and indeed of all, remains untouched, since the comparison I challenge is not of wits or faculties, but of ways and methods, and the part I take upon myself is not that of a judge, but of a guide.
XXXIII. XXXIII
Nullum (dicendum enim est aperte) recte fieri potest judicium nec de via nostra, nec de iis quae secundum eam inventa sunt, per anticipationes (rationem scilicet quae in usu est), quia non postulandum est ut ejus rei judicio stetur, quae ipsa in judicium vocatur. This must be plainly avowed: no judgment can be rightly formed either of my method or of the discoveries to which it leads, by means of anticipations (that is to say, of the reasoning which is now in use); since I cannot be called on to abide by the sentence of a tribunal which is itself on trial.
XXXIV. XXXIV
Neque etiam tradendi aut explicandi ea, quae adducimus, facilis est ratio ; quia, quae in se nova sunt, intelligentur tamen ex analogia veterum. Even to deliver and explain what I bring forward is no easy matter, for things in themselves new will yet be apprehended with reference to what is old.
XXXV. XXXV
Dixit Borgia de expeditione Gallorum in Italiam, eos venisse cum creta in manibus, ut diversoria notarent, non cum armis, ut perrumperent. Itidem et nostra ratio est, ut doctrina nostra animos idoneos et capaces subintret ; confutationum enim nullus est usus, ubi de principiis et ipsis notionibus, atque etiam de formis demonstrationum dissentimus. It was said by Borgia of the expedition of the French into Italy, that they came with chalk in their hands to mark out their lodgings, not with arms to force their way in. I in like manner would have my doctrine enter quietly into the minds that are fit and capable of receiving it; for confutations cannot be employed when the difference is upon first principles and very notions, and even upon forms of demonstration.
XXXVI. XXXVI
Restat vero nobis modus tradendi unus et simplex, ut homines ad ipsa particularia et eorum series et ordines adducamus ; et ut illi rursus imperent sibi ad tempus abnegationem notionum, et cum rebus ipsis consuescere incipiant. One method of delivery alone remains to us which is simply this: we must lead men to the particulars themselves, and their series and order; while men on their side must force themselves for a while to lay their notions by and begin to familiarize themselves with facts.
XXXVII. XXXVII
Ratio eorum, qui acatalepsiam tenuerunt, et via nostra initiis suis quodammodo consentiunt ; exitu immensum disjunguntur et opponuntur. Illi enim nihil sciri posse simpliciter asserunt ; nos, non multum sciri posse in natura, ea, quae nunc in usu est, via : verum illi exinde authoritatem sensus et intellectus destruunt ; nos auxilia iisdem excogitamus et subministramus. The doctrine of those who have denied that certainty could be attained at all has some agreement with my way of proceeding at the first setting out; but they end in being infinitely separated and opposed. For the holders of that doctrine assert simply that nothing can be known. I also assert that not much can be known in nature by the way which is now in use. But then they go on to destroy the authority of the senses and understanding; whereas I proceed to devise and supply helps for the same.
XXXVIII. XXXVIII
Idola et notiones falsae, quae intellectum humanum jam occuparunt atque in eo alte haerent, non solum mentes hominum ita obsident, ut veritati aditus difficilis pateat ; sed etiam dato et concesso aditu, illa rursus in ipsa instauratione scientiarum occurrent et molesta erunt ; nisi homines praemoniti adversus ea se, quantum fieri potest, muniant. The idols and false notions which are now in possession of the human understanding, and have taken deep root therein, not only so beset men's minds that truth can hardly find entrance, but even after entrance is obtained, they will again in the very instauration of the sciences meet and trouble us, unless men being forewarned of the danger fortify themselves as far as may be against their assaults.
XXXIX. XXXIX
Quatuor sunt genera idolorum, quae mentes humanas obsident. Iis (docendi gratia) nomina imposuimus ; ut primum genus, idola tribus ; secundum, idola specus ; tertium, idola fori ; quartum, idola theatri, vocentur. There are four classes of Idols which beset men's minds. To these for distinction's sake I have assigned names, calling the first class Idols of the Tribe; the second, Idols of the Cave; the third, Idols of the Market Place; the fourth, Idols of the Theater.
XL. XL
Excitatio notionum et axiomatum per inductionem veram est certe proprium remedium ad idola arcenda et summovenda ; sed tamen indicatio idolorum magni est usus. Doctrina enim de idolis similiter se habet ad interpretationem naturae, sicut doctrina de sophisticis elenchis ad dialecticam vulgarem. The formation of ideas and axioms by true induction is no doubt the proper remedy to be applied for the keeping off and clearing away of idols. To point them out, however, is of great use; for the doctrine of Idols is to the interpretation of nature what the doctrine of the refutation of sophisms is to common logic.
XLI. XLI
Idola tribus sunt fundata in ipsa natura humana, atque in ipsa tribu seu gente hominum. Falso enim asseritur, sensum humanum esse mensuram rerum ; quin contra, omnes perceptiones, tam sensus quam mentis, sunt ex analogia hominis, non ex analogia universi. Estque intellectus humanus instar speculi inaequalis ad radios rerum, qui suam naturam naturae rerum immiscet, eamque distorquet et inficit. The Idols of the Tribe have their foundation in human nature itself, and in the tribe or race of men. For it is a false assertion that the sense of man is the measure of things. On the contrary, all perceptions as well of the sense as of the mind are according to the measure of the individual and not according to the measure of the universe. And the human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it.
XLII. XLII
Idola specus sunt idola hominis individui. Habet enim unusquisque (praeter aberrationes naturae humanae in genere) specum sive cavernam quandam individuam, quae lumen naturae frangit et corrumpit : vel propter naturam cujusque propriam et singularem ; vel propter educationem et conversationem cum aliis ; vel propter lectionem librorum, et authoritates eorum quos quisque colit et miratur ; vel propter differentias impressionum, prout occurrunt in animo praeoccupato et praedisposito, aut in animo aequo et sedato, vel ejusmodi : ut plane spiritus humanus (prout disponitur in hominibus singulis) sit res varia, et omnino perturbata, et quasi fortuita. Unde bene Heraclitus, homines scientias quaerere in minoribus mundis, et non in majore sive communi. The Idols of the Cave are the idols of the individual man. For everyone (besides the errors common to human nature in general) has a cave or den of his own, which refracts and discolors the light of nature, owing either to his own proper and peculiar nature; or to his education and conversation with others; or to the reading of books, and the authority of those whom he esteems and admires; or to the differences of impressions, accordingly as they take place in a mind preoccupied and predisposed or in a mind indifferent and settled; or the like. So that the spirit of man (according as it is meted out to different individuals) is in fact a thing variable and full of perturbation, and governed as it were by chance. Whence it was well observed by Heraclitus that men look for sciences in their own lesser worlds, and not in the greater or common world.
XLIII. XLIII
Sunt etiam idola tanquam ex contractu et societate humani generis ad invicem, quae idola fori, propter hominum commercium et consortium, appellamus. Homines enim per sermones sociantur ; at verba ex captu vulgi imponuntur. Itaque mala et inepta verborum impositio miris modis intellectum obsidet. Neque definitiones aut explicationes, quibus homines docti se munire et vindicare in nonnullis consueverunt, rem ullo modo restituunt. Sed verba plane vim faciunt intellectui, et omnia turbant ; et homines ad inanes et innumeras controversias et commenta deducunt. There are also Idols formed by the intercourse and association of men with each other, which I call Idols of the Market Place, on account of the commerce and consort of men there. For it is by discourse that men associate, and words are imposed according to the apprehension of the vulgar. And therefore the ill and unfit choice of words wonderfully obstructs the understanding. Nor do the definitions or explanations wherewith in some things learned men are wont to guard and defend themselves, by any means set the matter right. But words plainly force and overrule the understanding, and throw all into confusion, and lead men away into numberless empty controversies and idle fancies.
XLIV. XLIV
Sunt denique idola, quae immigrarunt in animos hominum ex diversis dogmatibus philosophiarum, ac etiam ex perversis legibus demonstrationum ; quae idola theatri nominamus ; quia quot philosophiae receptae aut inventae sunt, tot fabulas productas et actas censemus, quae mundos effecerunt fictitios et scenicos. Neque de his quae jam habentur, aut etiam de veteribus philosophiis et sectis tantum loquimur, cum complures aliae ejusmodi fabulae componi et concinnari possint ; quandoquidem errorum prorsus diversorum causae sint nihilominus fere communes. Neque rursus de philosophiis universalibus tantum hoc intelligimus, sed etiam de principiis et axiomatibus compluribus scientiarum, quae ex traditione et fide et neglectu invaluerunt. Verum de singulis istis generibus idolorum, fusius et distinctius dicendum est, ut intellectui humano cautum sit. Lastly, there are Idols which have immigrated into men's minds from the various dogmas of philosophies, and also from wrong laws of demonstration. These I call Idols of the Theater, because in my judgment all the received systems are but so many stage plays, representing worlds of their own creation after an unreal and scenic fashion. Nor is it only of the systems now in vogue, or only of the ancient sects and philosophies, that I speak; for many more plays of the same kind may yet be composed and in like artificial manner set forth; seeing that errors the most widely different have nevertheless causes for the most part alike. Neither again do I mean this only of entire systems, but also of many principles and axioms in science, which by tradition, credulity, and negligence have come to be received. But of these several kinds of Idols I must speak more largely and exactly, that the understanding may be duly cautioned.
XLV. XLV
Intellectus humanus ex proprietate sua facile supponit majorem ordinem et aequalitatem in rebus, quam invenit : et cum multa sint in natura monodica, et plena imparitatis, tamen affingit parallela, et correspondentia, et relativa, quae non sunt. Hinc commenta illa, in coelestibus omnia moveri per circulos perfectos, lineis spiralibus et draconibus (nisi nomine tenus) prorsus rejectis. Hinc elementum ignis cum orbe suo introductum est ad constituendum quaternionem cum reliquis tribus, quae subjiciuntur sensui. Etiam elementis (quae vocant) imponitur ad placitum decupla proportio excessus in raritate ad invicem ; et hujusmodi somnia. Neque vanitas ista tantum valet in dogmatibus, verum etiam in notionibus simplicibus. The human understanding is of its own nature prone to suppose the existence of more order and regularity in the world than it finds. And though there be many things in nature which are singular and unmatched, yet it devises for them parallels and conjugates and relatives which do not exist. Hence the fiction that all celestial bodies move in perfect circles, spirals and dragons being (except in name) utterly rejected. Hence too the element of fire with its orb is brought in, to make up the square with the other three which the sense perceives. Hence also the ratio of density of the so-called elements is arbitrarily fixed at ten to one. And so on of other dreams. And these fancies affect not dogmas only, but simple notions also.
XLVI. XLVI
Intellectus humanus in iis quae semel placuerunt (aut quia recepta sunt et credita, aut quia delectant), alia etiam omnia trahit ad suffragationem et consensum cum illis : et licet major sit instantiarum vis et copia, quae occurrunt in contrarium ; tamen eas aut non observat, aut contemnit, aut distinguendo summovet et rejicit, non sine magno et pernicioso praejudicio, quo prioribus illis syllepsibus authoritas maneat inviolata. Itaque recte respondit ille, qui, cum suspensa tabula in templo ei monstraretur eorum qui vota solverant, quod naufragii periculo elapsi sint, atque interrogando premeretur, anne tum quidem Deorum numen agnosceret, quaesivit denuo, At ubi sunt illi depicti qui post vota nuncupata perierint? Eadem ratio est fere omnis superstitionis, ut in astrologicis, in somniis, ominibus, nemesibus, et hujusmodi ; in quibus homines delectati hujusmodi vanitatibus advertunt eventus, ubi emplentur ; ast ubi fallunt, licet multo frequentius, tamen negligunt et praetereunt. At longe subtilius serpit hoc malum in philosophiis et scientiis ; in quibus quod semel placuit, reliqua (licet multo firmiora et potiora) inficit, et in ordinem redigit. Quinetiam licet abfuerit ea, quam diximus, delectatio et vanitas, is tamen humano intellectui error est proprius et perpetuus, ut magis moveatur et excitetur affirmativis, quam negativis ; cum rite et ordine aequum se utrique praebere debeat ; quin contra, in omni axiomate vero constituendo, major est vis instantiae negativae. The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects, in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate. And therefore it was a good answer that was made by one who, when they showed him hanging in a temple a picture of those who had paid their vows as having escaped shipwreck, and would have him say whether he did not now acknowledge the power of the gods "Aye," asked he again, "but where are they painted that were drowned after their vows?" And such is the way of all superstition, whether in astrology, dreams, omens, divine judgments, or the like; wherein men, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happen much oftener, neglect and pass them by. But with far more subtlety does this mischief insinuate itself into philosophy and the sciences; in which the first conclusion colors and brings into conformity with itself all that come after, though far sounder and better. Besides, independently of that delight and vanity which I have described, it is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human intellect to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives; whereas it ought properly to hold itself indifferently disposed toward both alike. Indeed, in the establishment of any true axiom, the negative instance is the more forcible of the two.
XLVII. XLVII
Intellectus humanus illis, quae simul et subito mentem ferire et subire possunt, maxime movetur ; a quibus phantasia impleri et inflari consuevit : reliqua vero modo quodam, licet imperceptibili, ita se habere fingit et supponit, quomodo se habent pauca illa quibus mens obsidetur ; ad illum vero transcursum ad instantias remotas et heterogeneas, per quas axiomata tanquam igne probantur, tardus omnino intellectus est, et inhabilis, nisi hoc illi per duras leges et violentum imperium imponatur. The human understanding is moved by those things most which strike and enter the mind simultaneously and suddenly, and so fill the imagination; and then it feigns and supposes all other things to be somehow, though it cannot see how, similar to those few things by which it is surrounded. But for that going to and fro to remote and heterogeneous instances by which axioms are tried as in the fire, the intellect is altogether slow and unfit, unless it be forced thereto by severe laws and overruling authority.
XLVIII. XLVIII
Gliscit intellectus humanus, neque consistere aut acquiescere potis est, sed ulterius petit ; at frustra. Itaque incogitabile est ut sit aliquid extremum aut extimum mundi, sed semper quasi necessario occurrit ut sit aliquid ulterius. Neque rursus cogitari potest quomodo aeternitas defluxerit ad hunc diem ; cum distinctio illa, quae recipi consuevit, quod sit infinitum a parte ante, et a parte post, nullo modo constare possit ; quia inde sequeretur, quod sit unum infinitum alio infinito majus, atque ut consumatur infinitum, et vergat ad finitum. Similis est subtilitas de lineis semper divisibilibus, ex impotentia cogitationis. At majore cum pernicie intervenit haec impotentia mentis in inventione causarum : nam cum maxime universalia in natura positiva esse debeant, quemadmodum inveniuntur, neque sunt revera causabilia ; tamen intellectus humanus, nescius acquiescere, adhuc appetit notiora. Tum vero, ad ulteriora tendens, ad proximiora recidit, videlicet ad causas finales, quae sunt plane ex natura hominis, potius quam universi : atque ex hoc fonte philosophiam miris modis corruperunt. Est autem aeque imperiti et leviter philosophantis, in maxime universalibus causam requirere, ac in subordinatis et subalternis causam non desiderare. The human understanding is unquiet; it cannot stop or rest, and still presses onward, but in vain. Therefore it is that we cannot conceive of any end or limit to the world, but always as of necessity it occurs to us that there is something beyond. Neither, again, can it be conceived how eternity has flowed down to the present day, for that distinction which is commonly received of infinity in time past and in time to come can by no means hold; for it would thence follow that one infinity is greater than another, and that infinity is wasting away and tending to become finite. The like subtlety arises touching the infinite divisibility of lines, from the same inability of thought to stop. But this inability interferes more mischievously in the discovery of causes; for although the most general principles in nature ought to be held merely positive, as they are discovered, and cannot with truth be referred to a cause, nevertheless the human understanding being unable to rest still seeks something prior in the order of nature. And then it is that in struggling toward that which is further off it falls back upon that which is nearer at hand, namely, on final causes, which have relation clearly to the nature of man rather than to the nature of the universe; and from this source have strangely defiled philosophy. But he is no less an unskilled and shallow philosopher who seeks causes of that which is most general, than he who in things subordinate and subaltern omits to do so.
XLIX. XLIX
Intellectus humanus luminis sicci non est ; sed recipit infusionem a voluntate et affectibus, id quod generat ad quod vult scientias : quod enim mavult homo verum esse, id potius credit. Rejicit itaque difficilia, ob inquirendi impatientiam ; sobria, quia coarctant spem ; altiora naturae, propter superstitionem ; lumen experientiae, propter arrogantiam et fastum, ne videatur mens versari in vilibus et fluxis ; paradoxa, propter opinionem vulgi ; denique innumeris modis, iisque interdum imperceptibilibus, affectus intellectum imbuit et inficit. The human understanding is no dry light, but receives an infusion from the will and affections; whence proceed sciences which may be called "sciences as one would." For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes. Therefore he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things, because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride, lest his mind should seem to be occupied with things mean and transitory; things not commonly believed, out of deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless, in short, are the ways, and sometimes imperceptible, in which the affections color and infect the understanding.
L. L
At longe maximum impedimentum et aberratio intellectus humani provenit a stupore et incompetentia et fallaciis sensuum ; ut ea, quae sensum feriunt, illis, quae sensum immediate non feriunt, licet potioribus, praeponderent. Itaque contemplatio fere desinit cum aspectu ; adeo ut rerum invisibilium exigua aut nulla sit observatio. Itaque omnis operatio spirituum in corporibus tangibilibus inclusorum latet, et homines fugit. Omnis etiam subtilior meta schematismus in partibus rerum crassiorum (quem vulgo alterationem vocant, cum sit revera latio per minima) latet similiter : et tamen nisi duo ista, quae diximus, explorata fuerint et in lucem producta, nihil magni fieri potest in natura quoad opera. Rursus ipsa natura aeris communis et corporum omnium, quae aerem tenuitate superant (quae plurima sunt), fere incognita est. Sensus enim per se res infirma est, et aberrans : neque organa ad amplificandos sensus aut acuendos multum valent ; sed omnis verior interpretatio naturae conficitur per instantias, et experimenta idonea et apposita ; ubi sensus de experimento tantum, experimentum de natura et re ipsa judicat. But by far the greatest hindrance and aberration of the human understanding proceeds from the dullness, incompetency, and deceptions of the senses; in that things which strike the sense outweigh things which do not immediately strike it, though they be more important. Hence it is that speculation commonly ceases where sight ceases; insomuch that of things invisible there is little or no observation. Hence all the working of the spirits enclosed in tangible bodies lies hid and unobserved of men. So also all the more subtle changes of form in the parts of coarser substances (which they commonly call alteration, though it is in truth local motion through exceedingly small spaces) is in like manner unobserved. And yet unless these two things just mentioned be searched out and brought to light, nothing great can be achieved in nature, as far as the production of works is concerned. So again the essential nature of our common air, and of all bodies less dense than air (which are very many), is almost unknown. For the sense by itself is a thing infirm and erring; neither can instruments for enlarging or sharpening the senses do much; but all the truer kind of interpretation of nature is effected by instances and experiments fit and apposite; wherein the sense decides touching the experiment only, and the experiment touching the point in nature and the thing itself.
LI. LI
Intellectus humanus fertur ad abstracta propter naturam propriam ; atque ea, quae fluxa sunt, fingit esse constantia. Melius autem est naturam secare, quam abstrahere ; id quod Democriti schola fecit, quae magis penetravit in naturam, quam reliquae. Materia potius considerari debet, et ejus schematismi, et meta-schematismi, atque actus purus, et lex actus sive motus ; formae enim commenta animi humani sunt, nisi libeat leges illas actus formas appellare. The human understanding is of its own nature prone to abstractions and gives a substance and reality to things which are fleeting. But to resolve nature into abstractions is less to our purpose than to dissect her into parts; as did the school of Democritus, which went further into nature than the rest. Matter rather than forms should be the object of our attention, its configurations and changes of configuration, and simple action, and law of action or motion; for forms are figments of the human mind, unless you will call those laws of action forms.
LII. LII
Hujusmodi itaque sunt idola, quae vocamus idola tribus ; quae ortum habent aut ex aequalitate substantiae spiritus humani ; aut ex praeoccupatione ejus ; aut ab angustiis ejus ; aut ab inquieto motu ejus ; aut ab infusione affectuum ; aut ab incompetentia sensuum ; aut ab impressionis modo. Such then are the idols which I call Idols of the Tribe, and which take their rise either from the homogeneity of the substance of the human spirit, or from its preoccupation, or from its narrowness, or from its restless motion, or from an infusion of the affections, or from the incompetency of the senses, or from the mode of impression.
LIII. LIII
Idola specus ortum habent ex propria cujusque natura et animi et corporis ; atque etiam ex educatione, et consuetudine, et fortuitis. Quod genus, licet sit varium et mulitplex, tamen ea proponemus, in quibus maxima cautio est, quaeque plurimum valent ad polluendum intellectum, ne sit purus. The Idols of the Cave take their rise in the peculiar constitution, mental or bodily, of each individual; and also in education, habit, and accident. Of this kind there is a great number and variety. But I will instance those the pointing out of which contains the most important caution, and which have most effect in disturbing the clearness of the understanding.
LIV. LIV
Adamant homines scientias et contemplationes particulares ; aut quia authores et inventores se earum credunt ; aut quia plurimum in illis operae posuerunt, iisque maxime assueverunt. Hujusmodi vero homines, si ad philosophiam et contemplationes universales se contulerint, illas ex prioribus phantasiis detorquent, et corrumpunt ; id quod maxime conspicuum cernitur in Aristotele, qui naturalem suam philosophiam logicae suae prorsus mancipavit, ut eam fere inutilem et contentiosam reddiderit. Chemicorum autem genus, ex paucis experimentis fornacis, philosophiam constituerunt phantasticam, et ad pauca spectantem : quinetiam Gilbertus, postquam in contemplationibus magnetis se laboriosissime exercuisset, confinxit statim philosophiam consentaneam rei apud ipsum praepollenti. Men become attached to certain particular sciences and speculations, either because they fancy themselves the authors and inventors thereof, or because they have bestowed the greatest pains upon them and become most habituated to them. But men of this kind, if they betake themselves to philosophy and contemplation of a general character, distort and color them in obedience to their former fancies; a thing especially to be noticed in Aristotle, who made his natural philosophy a mere bond servant to his logic, thereby rendering it contentious and well-nigh useless. The race of chemists, again out of a few experiments of the furnace, have built up a fantastic philosophy, framed with reference to a few things; and Gilbert also, after he had employed himself most laboriously in the study and observation of the loadstone, proceeded at once to construct an entire system in accordance with his favorite subject.
LV. LV
Maximum et velut radicale discrimen ingeniorum, quoad philosophiam et scientias, illud est ; quod alia ingenia sint fortiora et aptiora ad notandas rerum differentias ; alia, ad notandas rerum similitudines. Ingenia enim constantia et acuta figere contemplationes, et morari, et haerere in omni subtilitate differentiarum possunt : ingenia autem sublimia et discursiva etiam tenuissimas et catholicas rerum similitudines et agnoscunt et componunt : utrumque autem ingenium facile labitur in excessum, prensando aut gradus rerum, aut umbras. There is one principal and as it were radical distinction between different minds, in respect of philosophy and the sciences, which is this: that some minds are stronger and apter to mark the differences of things, others to mark their resemblances. The steady and acute mind can fix its contemplations and dwell and fasten on the subtlest distinctions; the lofty and discursive mind recognizes and puts together the finest and most general resemblances. Both kinds, however, easily err in excess, by catching the one at gradations, the other at shadows.
LVI. LVI
Reperiuntur ingenia alia in admirationem antiquitatis, alia in amorem et amplexum novitatis effusa ; pauca vero ejus temperamenti sunt, ut modum tenere possint, quin aut quae recte posita sunt ab antiquis convellant, aut ea contemnant quae recte afferuntur a novis. Hoc vero magno scientiarum et philosophiae detrimento fit, quum studia potius sint antiquitatis et novitatis, quam judicia : veritas autem non a felicitate temporis alicujus, quae res varia est ; sed a lumine naturae et experientiae, quod aeternum est, petenda est. Itaque abneganda sunt ista studia ; et videndum, ne intellectus ab illis ad consensum abripiatur. There are found some minds given to an extreme admiration of antiquity, others to an extreme love and appetite for novelty; but few so duly tempered that they can hold the mean, neither carping at what has been well laid down by the ancients, nor despising what is well introduced by the moderns. This, however, turns to the great injury of the sciences and philosophy, since these affectations of antiquity and novelty are the humors of partisans rather than judgments; and truth is to be sought for not in the felicity of any age, which is an unstable thing, but in the light of nature and experience, which is eternal. These factions therefore must be abjured, and care must be taken that the intellect be not hurried by them into assent.
LVII. LVII
Contemplationes naturae et corporum in simplicitate sua intellectum frangunt et comminuunt ; contemplationes vero naturae et corporum in compositione et configuratione sua intellectum stupefaciunt et solvunt. Id optime cernitur in schola Leucippi et Democriti, collata cum reliquis philosophiis. Illa enim ita versatur in particulis rerum, ut fabricas fere negligat ; reliquae autem ita fabricas intuentur attonitae, ut ad simplicitatem naturae non penetrent : itaque alternandae sunt contemplationes istae, et vicissim sumendae ; ut intellectus reddatur simul penetrans et capax ; et evitentur ea, quae diximus, incommoda, atque idola ex iis provenientia. Contemplations of nature and of bodies in their simple form break up and distract the understanding, while contemplations of nature and bodies in their composition and configuration overpower and dissolve the understanding, a distinction well seen in the school of Leucippus and Democritus as compared with the other philosophies. For that school is so busied with the particles that it hardly attends to the structure, while the others are so lost in admiration of the structure that they do not penetrate to the simplicity of nature. These kinds of contemplation should therefore be alternated and taken by turns, so that the understanding may be rendered at once penetrating and comprehensive, and the inconveniences above mentioned, with the idols which proceed from them, may be avoided.
LVIII. LVIII
Talis itaque esto prudentia contemplativa in arcendis et summovendis idolis specus ; quae aut ex praedominantia, aut ex excessu compositionis et divisionis, aut ex studiis erga tempora, aut ex objectis largis et minutis, maxime ortum habent. Generaliter autem pro suspecto habendum unicuique rerum naturam contemplanti quicquid intellectum suum potissimum capit et detinet ; tantoque major adhibenda in hujusmodi placitis est cautio, ut intellectus servetur aequus et purus. Let such then be our provision and contemplative prudence for keeping off and dislodging the Idols of the Cave, which grow for the most part either out of the predominance of a favorite subject, or out of an excessive tendency to compare or to distinguish, or out of partiality for particular ages, or out of the largeness or minuteness of the objects contemplated. And generally let every student of nature take this as a rule: that whatever his mind seizes and dwells upon with peculiar satisfaction is to be held in suspicion, and that so much the more care is to be taken in dealing with such questions to keep the understanding even and clear.
LIX. LIX
At idola fori omnium molestissima sunt ; quae ex foedere verborum et nominum se insinuarunt in intellectum. Credunt enim homines, rationem suam verbis imperare. Sed fit etiam ut verba vim suam super intellectum retorqueant et reflectant ; quod philosophiam et scientias reddidit sophisticas et inactivas. Verba autem plerunque ex captu vulgi induntur, atque per lineas vulgari intellectui maxime conspicuas res secant. Quum autem intellectus acutior, aut observatio diligentior, eas lineas transferre velit, ut illae sint magis secundum naturam ; verba obstrepunt. Unde fit, ut magnae et solennes disputationes hominum doctorum saepe in controversias circa verba et nomina desinant ; a quibus (ex more et prudentia mathematicorum) incipere consultius foret, easque per definitiones in ordinem redigere. Quae tamen definitiones, in naturalibus et materiatis, huic malo mederi non possunt ; quoniam et ipsae definitiones ex verbis constant, et verba gignunt verba : adeo ut necesse sit ad instantias particulares, earumque series et ordines recurrere ; ut mox dicemus, quum ad modum et rationem constituendi notiones et axiomata deventum fuerit. But the Idols of the Market Place are the most troublesome of all idols which have crept into the understanding through the alliances of words and names. For men believe that their reason governs words; but it is also true that words react on the understanding; and this it is that has rendered philosophy and the sciences sophistical and inactive. Now words, being commonly framed and applied according to the capacity of the vulgar, follow those lines of division which are most obvious to the vulgar understanding. And whenever an understanding of greater acuteness or a more diligent observation would alter those lines to suit the true divisions of nature, words stand in the way and resist the change. Whence it comes to pass that the high and formal discussions of learned men end oftentimes in disputes about words and names; with which (according to the use and wisdom of the mathematicians) it would be more prudent to begin, and so by means of definitions reduce them to order. Yet even definitions cannot cure this evil in dealing with natural and material things, since the definitions themselves consist of words, and those words beget others. So that it is necessary to recur to individual instances, and those in due series and order, as I shall say presently when I come to the method and scheme for the formation of notions and axioms.
LX. LX
Idola, quae per verba intellectui imponuntur, duorum generum sunt ; aut enim sunt rerum nomina, quae non sunt (quemadmodum enim sunt res, quae nomine carent per inobservationem ; ita sunt et nomina, quae carent rebus, per suppositionem phantasticam), aut sunt nomina rerum, quae sunt, sed confusa et male terminata, et temere et inaequaliter a rebus abstracta. Prioris generis sunt, fortuna, primum mobile, planetarum orbes, elementum ignis, et hujusmodi commenta, quae a vanis et falsis theoriis ortum habent. Atque hoc genus idolorum facilius ejicitur, quia per constantem abnegationem et antiquationem theoriarum exterminari possunt. At alterum genus perplexum est, et alte haerens ; quod ex mala et imperita abstractione excitatur. Exempli gratia, accipiatur aliquod verbum (humidum, si placet), et videamus quomodo sibi constent quae per hoc verbum significantur : et invenietur verbum istud, humidum, nihil aliud quam nota confusa diversarum actionum, quae nullam constantiam aut reductionem patiuntur. Significat enim et quod circa aliud corpus facile se circumfundit ; et quod in se est indeterminabile, nec consistere potest ; et quod facile cedit undique ; et quod facile se dividit et dispergit ; et quod facile se unit et colligit ; et quod facile fluit et in motu ponitur ; et quod alteri corpori facile adhaeret, idque madefacit ; et quod facile reducitur in liquidum, sive colliquatur, cum antea consisteret. Itaque quum ad hujus nominis praedicationem et impositionem ventum sit ; si alia accipias, flamma humida est ; si alia accipias, aer humidus non est ; si alia, pulvis minutus humidus est ; si alia, vitrum humidum est : ut facile appareat istam notionem ex aqua tantum et communibus et vulgaribus liquoribus, absque ulla debita verificatione, temere abstractam esse. In verbis autem gradus sunt quidam pravitatis et erroris. Minus vitiosum genus est nominum substantiae alicujus, praesertim specierum infirmarum, et bene deductarum (nam notio cretae, luti, bona ; terrae, mala) : vitiosius genus est actionum, ut generare, corrumpere, alterare : vitiosissimum qualitatum (exceptis objectis sensus immediatis), ut gravis, levis, tenuis, densi, etc. ; et tamen in omnibus istis fieri non potest, quin sint aliae notiones aliis paulo meliores, prout in sensum humanum incidit rerum copia. The idols imposed by words on the understanding are of two kinds. They are either names of things which do not exist (for as there are things left unnamed through lack of observation, so likewise are there names which result from fantastic suppositions and to which nothing in reality corresponds), or they are names of things which exist, but yet confused and ill-defined, and hastily and irregularly derived from realities. Of the former kind are Fortune, the Prime Mover, Planetary Orbits, Element of Fire, and like fictions which owe their origin to false and idle theories. And this class of idols is more easily expelled, because to get rid of them it is only necessary that all theories should be steadily rejected and dismissed as obsolete. But the other class, which springs out of a faulty and unskillful abstraction, is intricate and deeply rooted. Let us take for example such a word as humid and see how far the several things which the word is used to signify agree with each other, and we shall find the word humid to be nothing else than a mark loosely and confusedly applied to denote a variety of actions which will not bear to be reduced to any constant meaning. For it both signifies that which easily spreads itself round any other body; and that which in itself is indeterminate and cannot solidize; and that which readily yields in every direction; and that which easily divides and scatters itself; and that which easily unites and collects itself; and that which readily flows and is put in motion; and that which readily clings to another body and wets it; and that which is easily reduced to a liquid, or being solid easily melts. Accordingly, when you come to apply the word, if you take it in one sense, flame is humid; if in another, air is not humid; if in another, fine dust is humid; if in another, glass is humid. So that it is easy to see that the notion is taken by abstraction only from water and common and ordinary liquids, without any due verification. There are, however, in words certain degrees of distortion and error. One of the least faulty kinds is that of names of substances, especially of lowest species and well-deduced (for the notion of chalk and of mud is good, of earth bad); a more faulty kind is that of actions, as to generate, to corrupt, to alter; the most faulty is of qualities (except such as are the immediate objects of the sense) as heavy, light, rare, dense, and the like. Yet in all these cases some notions are of necessity a little better than others, in proportion to the greater variety of subjects that fall within the range of the human sense.
LXI. LXI
At idola theatri innata non sunt, nec occulto insinuata in intellectum ; sed ex fabulis theoriarum, et perversis legibus demonstrationum, plane indita et recepta. In his autem confutationes tentare et suscipere consentaneum prorsus non est illis, quae a nobis dicta sunt. Quum enim nec de principiis consentiamus, nec de demonstrationibus, tollitur omnis argumentatio. Id vero bono fit fato, ut antiquis suus constet honos. Nihil enim illis detrahitur, quum de via omnino quaestio sit. Claudus enim (ut dicitur) in via antevertit cursorem extra viam. Etiam illud manifesto liquet, currenti extra viam, quo habilior sit et velocior, eo majorem contingere aberrationem. Nostra vero inveniendi scientias ea est ratio, ut non multum ingeniorum acumini et robori relinquatur ; sed quae ingenia et intellectus fere exaequet. Quemadmodum enim ad hoc ut linea recta fiat, aut circulus perfectus describatur, multum est in constantia et exercitatione manus, si fiat ex vi manus propria, sin autem adhibeatur regula, aut circinus, parum aut nihil ; omnino similis est nostra ratio. Licet autem confutationum particularium nullus sit usus ; de sectis tamen et generibus hujusmodi theoriarum nonnihil dicendum est ; atque etiam paulo post de signis exterioribus, quod se male habeant ; et postremo de causis tantae infelicitatis et tam diuturni et generalis in errore consensus ; ut ad vera minus difficilis sit aditus, et intellectus humanus volentius expurgetur et idola dimittat. But the Idols of the Theater are not innate, nor do they steal into the understanding secretly, but are plainly impressed and received into the mind from the playbooks of philosophical systems and the perverted rules of demonstration. To attempt refutations in this case would be merely inconsistent with what I have already said, for since we agree neither upon principles nor upon demonstrations there is no place for argument. And this is so far well, inasmuch as it leaves the honor of the ancients untouched. For they are no wise disparaged the question between them and me being only as to the way. For as the saying is, the lame man who keeps the right road outstrips the runner who takes a wrong one. Nay, it is obvious that when a man runs the wrong way, the more active and swift he is, the further he will go astray. But the course I propose for the discovery of sciences is such as leaves but little to the acuteness and strength of wits, but places all wits and understandings nearly on a level. For as in the drawing of a straight line or a perfect circle, much depends on the steadiness and practice of the hand, if it be done by aim of hand only, but if with the aid of rule or compass, little or nothing; so is it exactly with my plan. But though particular confutations would be of no avail, yet touching the sects and general divisions of such systems I must say something; something also touching the external signs which show that they are unsound; and finally something touching the causes of such great infelicity and of such lasting and general agreement in error; that so the access to truth may be made less difficult, and the human understanding may the more willingly submit to its purgation and dismiss its idols.
LXII. LXII
Idola theatri, sive theoriarum, multa sunt, et multo plura esse possunt, et aliquando fortasse erunt. Nisi enim per multa jam saecula hominum ingenia circa religionem et theologiam occupata fuissent ; atque etiam politiae civiles (praesertim monarchiae) ab istiusmodi novitatibus, etiam in contemplationibus, essent aversae ; ut cum periculo et detrimento fortunarum suarum in illas homines incumbant, non solum praemio destituti, sed etiam contemptui et invidiae expositi ; complures aliae proculdubio philosophiarum et theoriarum sectae, similes illis, quae magna varietate olim apud Graecos floruerunt introductae fuissent. Quemadmodum enim super phaenomena aetheris plura themata coeli confingi possunt ; similiter, et multo magis, super phaenomena philosophiae fundari possunt et constitui varia dogmata. Atque hujusmodi theatri fabulae habent etiam illud, quod in theatro poetarum usu venit ; ut narrationes fictae ad scenam narrationibus ex historia veris concinniores sint et elegantiores, et quales quis magis vellet. In genere autem, in materiam philosophiae sumitur aut multum ex paucis, aut parum ex multis ; ut utrinque philosophia super experientiae et naturalis historiae nimis angustam basin fundata sit, atque ex paucioribus, quam par est, pronunciet. Rationale enim genus philosophantium ex experientia arripiunt varia et vulgaria, eaque neque certo comperta, nec diligenter examinata et pensitata ; reliqua in meditatione atque ingenii agitatione ponunt. Est et aliud genus philosophantium, qui in paucis experimentis sedulo et accurate elaborarunt, atque inde philosophias educere et confingere ausi sunt ; reliqua miris modis ad ea detorquentes. Est et tertium genus eorum, qui theologiam et traditiones ex fide et veneratione immiscent ; inter quos vanitas nonnullorum ad petendas et derivandas scientias a spiritibus scilicet et geniis deflexit ; ita ut stirps errorum et philosophia falsa genere triplex sit : sophistica, empirica, et superstitiosa. Idols of the Theater, or of Systems, are many, and there can be and perhaps will be yet many more. For were it not that now for many ages men's minds have been busied with religion and theology; and were it not that civil governments, especially monarchies, have been averse to such novelties, even in matters speculative; so that men labor therein to the peril and harming of their fortunes not only unrewarded, but exposed also to contempt and envy doubtless there would have arisen many other philosophical sects like those which in great variety flourished once among the Greeks. For as on the phenomena of the heavens many hypotheses may be constructed, so likewise (and more also) many various dogmas may be set up and established on the phenomena of philosophy. And in the plays of this philosophical theater you may observe the same thing which is found in the theater of the poets, that stories invented for the stage are more compact and elegant, and more as one would wish them to be, than true stories out of history. In general, however, there is taken for the material of philosophy either a great deal out of a few things, or a very little out of many things; so that on both sides philosophy is based on too narrow a foundation of experiment and natural history, and decides on the authority of too few cases. For the Rational School of philosophers snatches from experience a variety of common instances, neither duly ascertained nor diligently examined and weighed, and leaves all the rest to meditation and agitation of wit. There is also another class of philosophers who, having bestowed much diligent and careful labor on a few experiments, have thence made bold to educe and construct systems, wresting all other facts in a strange fashion to conformity therewith. And there is yet a third class, consisting of those who out of faith and veneration mix their philosophy with theology and traditions; among whom the vanity of some has gone so far aside as to seek the origin of sciences among spirits and genii. So that this parent stock of errors this false philosophy is of three kinds: the Sophistical, the Empirical, and the Superstitious.
LXIII. LXIII
Primi generis exemplum in Aristotele maxime conspicuum est, qui philosophiam naturalem dialectica sua corrupit : quum mundum ex categoriis effecerit ; animae humanae, nobilissimae substantiae, genus ex vocibus secundae intentionis tribuerit ; negotium densi et rari, per quod corpora subeunt majores et minores dimensiones sive spatia, per frigidam distinctionem actus et potentiae transegerit ; motum singulis corporibus unicum et proprium, et, si participent ex alio motu, id aliunde moveri, asseruerit : et innumera alia, pro arbitrio suo, naturae rerum imposuerit : magis ubique sollicitus quomodo quis respondendo se explicet, et aliquid reddatur in verbis positivum, quam de interna rerum veritate ; quod etiam optime se ostendit in comparatione philosophiae ejus ad alias philosophias quae apud Graecos celebrabantur. Habent enim homoiomera Anaxagorae, atomi Leucippi et Democriti, coelum et terra Parmenidis, lis et amicitia Empedoclis, resolutio corporum in adiaphoram naturam ignis et replicatio eorundem ad densum Heracliti, aliquid ex philosopho naturali ; et rerum naturam, et experientiam, et corpora sapiunt ; ubi Aristotelis physica nihil aliud quam dialecticae voces plerunque sonet : quam etiam in metaphysicis sub solenniore nomine, et ut magis scilicet realis, non nominalis, retractavit. Neque illud quenquam moveat, quod in libris ejus De animalibus, et in Problematibus, et in aliis suis tractatibus, versatio frequens sit in experimentis. Ille enim prius decreverat, neque experientiam ad constituenda decreta et axiomata rite consuluit ; sed postquam pro arbitrio suo decrevisset, experientiam ad sua placita tortam circumducit et captivam ; ut hoc etiam nomine magis accusandus sit, quam sectatores ejus moderni (scholasticorum philosophorum genus) qui experientiam omnino deseruerunt. The most conspicuous example of the first class was Aristotle, who corrupted natural philosophy by his logic: fashioning the world out of categories; assigning to the human soul, the noblest of substances, a genus from words of the second intention; doing the business of density and rarity (which is to make bodies of greater or less dimensions, that is, occupy greater or less spaces), by the frigid distinction of act and power; asserting that single bodies have each a single and proper motion, and that if they participate in any other, then this results from an external cause; and imposing countless other arbitrary restrictions on the nature of things; being always more solicitous to provide an answer to the question and affirm something positive in words, than about the inner truth of things; a failing best shown when his philosophy is compared with other systems of note among the Greeks. For the homoeomera of Anaxagoras; the Atoms of Leucippus and Democritus; the Heaven and Earth of Parmenides; the Strife and Friendship of Empedocles; Heraclitus' doctrine how bodies are resolved into the indifferent nature of fire, and remolded into solids, have all of them some taste of the natural philosopher some savor of the nature of things, and experience, and bodies; whereas in the physics of Aristotle you hear hardly anything but the words of logic, which in his metaphysics also, under a more imposing name, and more forsooth as a realist than a nominalist, he has handled over again. Nor let any weight be given to the fact that in his books on animals and his problems, and other of his treatises, there is frequent dealing with experiments. For he had come to his conclusion before; he did not consult experience, as he should have done, for the purpose of framing his decisions and axioms, but having first determined the question according to his will, he then resorts to experience, and bending her into conformity with his placets, leads her about like a captive in a procession. So that even on this count he is more guilty than his modern followers, the schoolmen, who have abandoned experience altogether.
LXIV. LXIV
At philosophiae genus empiricum placita magis deformia et monstrosa educit, quam sophisticum aut rationale genus ; quia non in luce notionum vulgarium (quae licet tenuis sit et superficialis, tamen est quodammodo universalis, et ad multa pertinens) sed in paucorum experimentorum angustiis et obscuritate fundatum est. Itaque talis philosophia illis, qui in hujusmodi experimentis quotidie versantur atque ex ipsis phantasiam contaminarunt, probabilis videtur et quasi certa ; caeteris, incredibilis et vana. Cujus exemplum notabile est in chemicis, eorumque dogmatibus ; alibi autem vix hoc tempore invenitur, nisi forte in philosophia Gilberti. Sed tamen circa hujusmodi philosophias cautio nullo modo praetermittenda erat ; quia mente jam praevidemus et auguramur, si quando homines, nostris monitis excitati, ad experientiam se serio contulerint (valere jussis doctrinis sophisticis), tum demum, propter praematuram et praeproperam intellectus festinationem, et saltum sive volatum ad generalia et rerum principia, fore ut magnum ab hujusmodi philosophiis periculum immineat ; cui malo etiam nunc obviam ire debemus. But the Empirical school of philosophy gives birth to dogmas more deformed and monstrous than the Sophistical or Rational school. For it has its foundations not in the light of common notions (which though it be a faint and superficial light, is yet in a manner universal, and has reference to many things), but in the narrowness and darkness of a few experiments. To those therefore who are daily busied with these experiments and have infected their imagination with them, such a philosophy seems probable and all but certain; to all men else incredible and vain. Of this there is a notable instance in the alchemists and their dogmas, though it is hardly to be found elsewhere in these times, except perhaps in the philosophy of Gilbert. Nevertheless, with regard to philosophies of this kind there is one caution not to be omitted; for I foresee that if ever men are roused by my admonitions to betake themselves seriously to experiment and bid farewell to sophistical doctrines, then indeed through the premature hurry of the understanding to leap or fly to universals and principles of things, great danger may be apprehended from philosophies of this kind, against which evil we ought even now to prepare.
LXV. LXV
At corruptio philosophiae ex superstitione, et theologia admista, latius omnino patet, et plurimum mali infert, aut in philosophias integras, aut in earum partes. Humanus enim intellectus non minus impressionibus phantasiae est obnoxius, quam impressionibus vulgarium notionum. Pugnax enim genus philosophiae et sophisticum illaqueat intellectum : at illud alterum phantasticum, et tumidum, et quasi poeticum, magis blanditur intellectui. Inest enim homini quaedam intellectus ambitio, non minor quam voluntatis ; praesertim in ingeniis altis et elevatis. Hujus autem generis exemplum inter Graecos illucescit, praecipue in Pythagora, sed cum superstitione magis crassa et onerosa conjunctum ; at periculosius et subtilius in Platone atque ejus schola. Invenitur etiam hoc genus mali in partibus philosophiarum reliquarum, introducendo formas abstractas, et causas finales, et causas primas ; omittendo saepissime medias, et hujusmodi. Huic autem rei summa adhibenda est cautio. Pessima enim res est errorum apotheosis, et pro peste intellectus habenda est, si vanis accedat veneratio. Huic autem vanitati nonnulli ex modernis summa levitate ita indulserunt, ut in primo capitulo Geneseos, et in libro Job, et aliis Scripturis sacris, philosophiam naturalem fundare conati sint ; inter viva quaerentes mortua. Tantoque magis haec vanitas inhibenda venit, et coercenda, quia ex divinorum et humanorum malesana admistione non solum educitur philosophia phantasica, sed etiam religio haeretica. Itaque salutare admodum est, si mente sobria fidei tantum dentur quae fidei sunt. But the corruption of philosophy by superstition and an admixture of theology is far more widely spread, and does the greatest harm, whether to entire systems or to their parts. For the human understanding is obnoxious to the influence of the imagination no less than to the influence of common notions. For the contentious and sophistical kind of philosophy ensnares the understanding; but this kind, being fanciful and tumid and half poetical, misleads it more by flattery. For there is in man an ambition of the understanding, no less than of the will, especially in high and lofty spirits. Of this kind we have among the Greeks a striking example in Pythagoras, though he united with it a coarser and more cumbrous superstition; another in Plato and his school, more dangerous and subtle. It shows itself likewise in parts of other philosophies, in the introduction of abstract forms and final causes and first causes, with the omission in most cases of causes intermediate, and the like. Upon this point the greatest caution should be used. For nothing is so mischievous as the apotheosis of error; and it is a very plague of the understanding for vanity to become the object of veneration. Yet in this vanity some of the moderns have with extreme levity indulged so far as to attempt to found a system of natural philosophy on the first chapter of Genesis, on the book of Job, and other parts of the sacred writings, seeking for the dead among the living; which also makes the inhibition and repression of it the more important, because from this unwholesome mixture of things human and divine there arises not only a fantastic philosophy but also a heretical religion. Very meet it is therefore that we be sober-minded, and give to faith that only which is faith's.
LXVI. LXVI
Et de malis authoritatibus philosophiarum, quae aut in vulgaribus notionibus, aut in paucis experimentis, aut in superstitione fundatae sunt, jam dictum est. Dicendum porro est et de vitiosa materia contemplationum, praesertim in philosophia naturali. Inficitur autem intellectus humanus ex intuitu eorum quae in artibus mechanicis fiunt, in quibus corpora per compositiones aut separationes ut plurimum alterantur ; ut cogitet simile quiddam etiam in natura rerum universali fieri. Unde fluxit commentum illud elementorum, atque illorum concursu, ad constituenda corpora naturalia Rursus, quum homo naturae libertatem contemplatur, incidit in species rerum, animalium, plantarum, mineralium ; unde facile in eam labitur cogitationem, ut existimet esse in natura quasdam formas rerum primarias, quas natura educere molitur : atque reliquam varietatem ex impedimentis et aberrationibus naturae in opere suo conficiendo, aut ex diversarum specierum conflictu, et transplantatione alterius in alteram, provenire. Atque prima cogitatio qualitates primas elementares, secunda proprietates occultas et virtutes specificas nobis peperit ; quarum utraque pertinet ad inania contemplationum compendia, in quibus acquiescit animus et a solidioribus avertitur. At medici in secundis rerum qualitatibus et operationibus, attrahendi, repellendi, attenuandi, inspissandi, dilatandi, astringendi, discutiendi, maturandi, et hujusmodi, operam praestant meliorem ; atque, nixi ex illis duobus (quae dixi) compendiis (qualitatibus scilicet elementaribus, et virtutibus specificis) illa altera (quae recte notata sunt) corrumperent, reducendo illa ad primas qualitates earumque mixturas subtiles et incommensurabiles, aut ea non producendo cum majore et diligentiore observatione ad qualitates tertias et quartas, sed contemplationem intempestive abrumpendo, illi multo melius profecissent. Neque hujusmodi virtutes (non dico eaedem, sed similes) in humani corporis medicinis tantum exquirendae sunt ; sed etiam in caeterorum corporum naturalium mutationibus. Sed multo adhuc majore cum malo fit, quod quiescentia rerum principia, ex quibus ; et non moventia, per quae res fiunt, contemplentur et inquirant. Illa enim ad sermones, ista ad opera spectant. Neque enim vulgars illae differentiae motus, quae in naturali philosophia recepta notantur, generationis, corruptionis, augmentationis, diminutionis, alterationis, et lationis, ullius sunt pretii. Quippe hoc sibi volunt ; si corpus, alias non mutatum, loco tamen moveatur, hoc lationem esse ; si, manente et loco et specie, qualitate mutetur, hoc alterationem esse ; si vero ex illa mutatione moles ipsa et quantitas corporis non eadem maneat, hoc augmentationis et diminutionis motum esse ; si eatenus mutentur, ut speciem ipsam et substantiam mutent, et in alia migrent, hoc generationem et corruptionem esse. At ista mere popularia sunt, et nullo modo in naturam penetrant ; suntque mensurae et periodi tantum, non species motus. Innuunt enim illud, hucusque, et non quomodo, vel ex quo fonte. Neque enim de corporum appetitu, aut de partium eorum processu, aliquid significant ; sed tantum quum motus ille rem aliter ac prius, crasso modo, sensui exhibeat, inde divisionem suam auspicantur. Etiam quum de causis motuum aliquid significare volunt, atque divisionem ex illis instituere, differentiam motus naturalis et violenti, maxima cum socordia, introducunt ; quae et ipsa omnino ex notione vulgari est ; cum omnis motus violentus etiam naturalis revera sit, scilicet cum externum efficiens naturam alio modo in opere ponet quam quo prius. At hisce omissis ; si quis (exempli gratia) observaverit, inesse corporibus appetitum contactus ad invicem, ut non patiantur unitatem naturae prorsus dirimi aut abscindi, ut vacuum detur : aut si quis dicat, inesse corporibus appetitum se recipiendi in naturalem suam dimensionem vel tensuram, ut, si ultra eam aut citra eam comprimantur aut distrahantur, statim in veterem sphaeram et exporrectionem suam se recuperare et remittere moliantur : aut si quis dicat, inesse corporibus appetitum congregationis ad massas connaturalium suorum, densorum videlicet versus orbem terrae, tenuiorum et rariorum versus ambitum coeli : haec et hujusmodi vere physica sunt genera motuum. At illa altera plane logica sunt et scholastica, ut ex hac collatione eorum manifesto liquet. Neque minus etiam malum est, quod in philosophiis et contemplationibus suis, in principiis rerum atque ultimatibus naturae investigandis et tractandis, opera insumatur ; cum omnis utilitas et facultas operandi in mediis consistat. Hinc fit, ut abstrahere naturam homines non desinant, donec ad materiam potentialem et informem ventum fuerit ; nec rursus secare naturam desinant, donec perventum fuerit ad atomum ; quae, etiamsi vera essent, tamen ad juvandas hominum fortunas parum possunt. So much, then, for the mischievous authorities of systems, which are founded either on common notions, or on a few experiments, or on superstition. It remains to speak of the faulty subject matter of contemplations, especially in natural philosophy. Now the human understanding is infected by the sight of what takes place in the mechanical arts, in which the alteration of bodies proceeds chiefly by composition or separation, and so imagines that something similar goes on in the universal nature of things. From this source has flowed the fiction of elements, and of their concourse for the formation of natural bodies. Again, when man contemplates nature working freely, he meets with different species of things, of animals, of plants, of minerals; whence he readily passes into the opinion that there are in nature certain primary forms which nature intends to educe, and that the remaining variety proceeds from hindrances and aberrations of nature in the fulfillment of her work, or from the collision of different species and the transplanting of one into another. To the first of these speculations we owe our primary qualities of the elements; to the other our occult properties and specific virtues; and both of them belong to those empty compendia of thought wherein the mind rests, and whereby it is diverted from more solid pursuits. It is to better purpose that the physicians bestow their labor on the secondary qualities of matter, and the operations of attraction, repulsion, attenuation, conspissation,1 dilatation, astriction, dissipation, maturation, and the like; and were it not that by those two compendia which I have mentioned (elementary qualities, to wit, and specific virtues) they corrupted their correct observations in these other matters either reducing them to first qualities and their subtle and incommensurable mixtures, or not following them out with greater and more diligent observations to third and fourth qualities, but breaking off the scrutiny prematurely they would have made much greater progress. Nor are powers of this kind (I do not say the same, but similar) to be sought for only in the medicines of the human body, but also in the changes of all other bodies. But it is a far greater evil that they make the quiescent principles, wherefrom, and not the moving principles, whereby, things are produced, the object of their contemplation and inquiry. For the former tend to discourse, the latter to works. Nor is there any value in those vulgar distinctions of motion which are observed in the received system of natural philosophy, as generation, corruption, augmentation, diminution, alteration, and local motion. What they mean no doubt is this: if a body in other respects not changed be moved from its place, this is local motion; if without change of place or essence, it be changed in quality, this is alteration; if by reason of the change the mass and quantity of the body do not remain the same, this is augmentation or diminution; if they be changed to such a degree that they change their very essence and substance and turn to something else, this is generation and corruption. But all this is merely popular, and does not at all go deep into nature; for these are only measures and limits, not kinds of motion. What they intimate is how far, not by what means, or from what source. For they do not suggest anything with regard either to the desires of bodies or to the development of their parts. It is only when that motion presents the thing grossly and palpably to the sense as different from what it was that they begin to mark the division. Even when they wish to suggest something with regard to the causes of motion, and to establish a division with reference to them, they introduce with the greatest negligence a distinction between motion natural and violent, a distinction which is itself drawn entirely from a vulgar notion, since all violent motion is also in fact natural; the external efficient simply setting nature working otherwise than it was before. But if, leaving all this, anyone shall observe (for instance) that there is in bodies a desire of mutual contact, so as not to suffer the unity of nature to be quite separated or broken and a vacuum thus made; or if anyone say that there is in bodies a desire of resuming their natural dimensions or tension, so that if compressed within or extended beyond them, they immediately strive to recover themselves, and fall back to their old volume and extent; or if anyone say that there is in bodies a desire of congregating toward masses of kindred nature of dense bodies, for instance, toward the globe of the earth, of thin and rare bodies toward the compass of the sky; all these and the like are truly physical kinds of motion but those others are entirely logical and scholastic, as is abundantly manifest from this comparison. Nor again is it a lesser evil that in their philosophies and contemplations their labor is spent in investigating and handling the first principles of things and the highest generalities of nature; whereas utility and the means of working result entirely from things intermediate. Hence it is that men cease not from abstracting nature till they come to potential and uninformed matter, nor on the other hand from dissecting nature till they reach the atom; things which, even if true, can do but little for the welfare of mankind. 1 [Conspissatio. Ed.]
LXVII. LXVII
Danda est etiam cautio intellectui de intemperantiis philosophiarum, quoad assensum praebendum aut cohibendum ; quia hujusmodi intemperantiae videntur idola figere, et quodammodo perpetuare, ne detur aditus ad ea summovenda. Duplex autem est excessus : alter eorum, qui facile pronunciant, et scientias reddunt positivas et magistrales ; alter eorum, qui acatalepsiam introduxerunt, et inquisitionem vagam sine termino ; quorum primus intellectum deprimit, alter enervat. Nam Aristotelis philosophia, postquam caeteras philosophias (more Ottomanorum erga fratres suos) pugnacibus confutationibus contrucidasset, de singulis pronunciavit ; et ipse rursus quaestiones ex arbitrio suo subornat, deinde conficit ; ut omnia certa sint et decreta : quod etiam apud successiones suas valet et in usu est. At Platonis schola acatalepsiam introduxit, primo tanquam per jocum et ironiam, in odium veterum sophistarum, Protagorae, Hippiae, et reliquorum, qui nihil tam verebantur, quam ne dubitare de re aliqua viderentur. At nova academia acatalepsiam dogmatizavit, et ex professo tenuit : quae licet honestior ratio sit, quam pronunciandi licentia, quum ipsi pro se dicant se minime confundere inquisitionem, ut Pyrrho fecit et Ephectici, sed habere quod sequantur ut probabile, licet non habeant quod teneant ut verum ; tamen postquam animus humanus de veritate invenienda semel desperaverit, omnino omnia fiunt languidiora : ex quo fit, ut deflectant homines potius ad amoenas disputationes et discursus, et rerum quasdam peragrationes, quam in severitate inquisitionis se sustineant. Verum, quod a principio diximus et perpetuo agimus, sensui et intellectui humano eorumque infirmitati authoritas non est deroganda, sed auxilia praebenda. A caution must also be given to the understanding against the intemperance which systems of philosophy manifest in giving or withholding assent, because intemperance of this kind seems to establish idols and in some sort to perpetuate them, leaving no way open to reach and dislodge them. This excess is of two kinds: the first being manifest in those who are ready in deciding, and render sciences dogmatic and magisterial; the other in those who deny that we can know anything, and so introduce a wandering kind of inquiry that leads to nothing; of which kinds the former subdues, the latter weakens the understanding. For the philosophy of Aristotle, after having by hostile confutations destroyed all the rest (as the Ottomans serve their brothers), has laid down the law on all points; which done, he proceeds himself to raise new questions of his own suggestion, and dispose of them likewise, so that nothing may remain that is not certain and decided; a practice which holds and is in use among his successors. The school of Plato, on the other hand, introduced Acatalepsia, at first in jest and irony, and in disdain of the older sophists, Protagoras, Hippias, and the rest, who were of nothing else so much ashamed as of seeming to doubt about anything. But the New Academy made a dogma of it, and held it as a tenet. And though theirs is a fairer seeming way than arbitrary decisions, since they say that they by no means destroy all investigation, like Pyrrho and his Refrainers, but allow of some things to be followed as probable, though of none to be maintained as true; yet still when the human mind has once despaired of finding truth, its interest in all things grows fainter, and the result is that men turn aside to pleasant disputations and discourses and roam as it were from object to object, rather than keep on a course of severe inquisition. But, as I said at the beginning and am ever urging, the human senses and understanding, weak as they are, are not to be deprived of their authority, but to be supplied with helps.
LXVIII. LXVIII
Atque de idolorum singulis generibus, eorumque apparatu jam diximus ; quae onmia constanti et solenni decreto sunt abneganda et renuncianda, et intellectus ab iis omnino liberandus est et expurgandus ; ut non alius fere sit aditus ad regnum hominis, quod fundatur in scientiis, quam ad regnum coelorum, in quod, nisi sub persona infantis, intrare non datur. So much concerning the several classes of Idols and their equipage; all of which must be renounced and put away with a fixed and solemn determination, and the understanding thoroughly freed and cleansed; the entrance into the kingdom of man, founded on the sciences, being not much other than the entrance into the kingdom of heaven, whereinto none may enter except as a little child.




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