Category: .Bacon, Francis

A mind thoroughly cleansed

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. [I/68]

Ancient conventionalism

From a few examples and particulars [the ancients] flew at once to the most general conclusions, or first principles of science. Taking the truth of these as fixed and immovable, they proceeded by means of intermediate propositions to educe and prove from them the inferior conclusions; and out of these they framed the art. After that, if any new parti­culars and examples repugnant to their dogmas were mooted and adduced, either they subtly molded them into their system by distinctions or explanations of their rules, or else coarsely got rid of them by exceptions; while to such par­ticulars as were not repugnant they labored to assign causes in conformity with those of their principles. But this was not the natural history and experience that was wanted; far from it. [I/125]

The childish induction

In establishing axioms, another form of induction must be devised than has hitherto been employed, and it must be used for proving and discovering not first principles (as they are called) only, but also the lesser axioms, and the middle, and indeed all. For the induction which proceeds by simple enumeration is childish; its conclusions are precarious and exposed to peril from a contradictory instance; and it generally decides on too small a number of facts, and on those only which are at hand. But the induction which is to be available for the discovery and demonstration of sciences and arts, must analyze nature by proper rejections and exclusions; and then, after a sufficient number of negatives, come to a conclusion on the affirmative instances […]. [I/105]