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but reduce the matter to this, that they should decide on the experiment, and the experiment on the subject of it. Wherefore, we consider that we have shown ourselves most observant priests of the senses, (by which all that exists in nature must be investigated if we would be rational,) and not unskilful interpreters of their oracles: for others seem to observe and worship them in word alone, but we in deed. These then are the means which we prepare for kindling and transmitting the light of nature: which would of themselves be sufficient, if the human understanding were plain and like a smoothed surface. But since the minds of men are so wonderfully prepossessed, that a clear and polished surface for receiving the true rays of things is wholly wanting, necessity urges us to seek a remedy for this also.
and a race of such discoveries as will in some measure overcome his wants and necessities.—
And this is the second part of the work. It is our intention not only to open and prepare the way, but also to enter upon it. The third part, therefore, of our work embraces the phenomena of the universe; that is to say, experience of every kind, and such a natural history as can form the foundation of an edifice of philosophy. For there is no method of demonstration, or form of interpreting nature, so excellent as to be able to afford and supply matter for knowledge, as well as to defend and support the mind against error and failure. But those who resolve not to conjecture and divine, but to discover and know, not to invent buffooneries and fables about worlds, but to inspect, and, as it were, dissect the nature of this real world, must derive all from things themselves. Nor can any substitution or compensation of wit, meditation, or argument, (were the whole wit of all combined in one,) supply the place of this labour, investigation, and personal
necessarily be pursued, or the whole forever abandoned. But men have so conducted themselves hitherto, that it is little to be wondered at if nature do not disclose herself to them.
The images or idols by which the mind is preoccupied are either adventitious or innate. The adventitious have crept into the minds of men either from the dogmas and sects of philosophers, or the perverted rules of demonstration. But the innate are inherent to the very nature of the un-examination of the world; our method then must derstanding, which appears to be much more prone to error than the senses. For however men may be satisfied with themselves, and rush into a blind admiration and almost adoration of the human mind, one thing is most certain, namely, that as an uneven mirror changes the rays proceeding from objects according to its own figure and position, so the mind when affected by things through the senses does not act in the most trustworthy manner, but inserts and mixes her own nature Into that of things, whilst clearing and recollect-riments, and lastly our careless and meagre natural ing her notions.
For in the first place the defective and fallacious evidence of our senses, a system of observation slothful and unsteady, as though acting from chance, a tradition vain and depending on common report, a course of practice intent upon effects, and servile, blind, dull, vague, and abrupt expe
history, have collected together, for the use of the understanding, the most defective materials as regards philosophy and the sciences.
gress, unless by some restoration of the sciences.
The first two species of idols are with difficulty eradicated, the latter can never be so. We can only point them out, and note and demonstrate In the next place, a preposterous refinement, that insidious faculty of the mind, lest new shoots and, as it were, ventilation of argument, is atof error should happen to spring up, from the de- tempted as a late remedy for a matter become struction of the old, on account of the mind's clearly desperate, and neither makes any improvedefective structure; and we should then find our-ment, nor removes errors. There remains no selves only exchanging instead of extinguishing hope therefore of greater advancement and proerrors; whilst it ought on the other hand to be eternally resolved and settled, that the understanding cannot decide otherwise than by induction and by a legitimate form of it. Wherefore the doctrine of the purifying of the understanding, so as to fit it for the reception of truth, consists of three reprehensions; the reprehension of the schemes of philosophy, the reprehension of methods of demonstration, and the reprehension of natural human reason. But when these have been gone through, and it has at last been clearly seen, what results are to be expected from the nature of things and the nature of the mind, we consider that we shall have prepared and adorned a nuptial couch for the mind and the universe; the divine goodness being our bridemaid. But let the prayer of our epithalamium be this; that from this union may spring assistance to man,
But this must commence entirely with natural history. For it is useless to clean the mirror if it have no images to reflect, and it is manifest that we must prepare proper matter for the understanding as well as steady support. But our history, like our logic, differs in many respects, from the received, in its end or office, in its very matter and compilation, in its nicety, in its selection, and in its arrangements relatively to what follows.
For, in the first place, we begin with that species of natural history which is not so much calculated to amuse by the variety of its objects, or to offer immediate results by its experiments, as to throw a light upon the discovery of causes, and to present, as it were, its bosom as the first nurse of philosophy. For, although we regard principally effects and the active division of the sciences
terated by fables and absurdity. Nay, the commonly received and repeated falsehoods, which by some wonderful neglect have held their ground for many ages and become inveterate, are by us distinctly proscribed and branded, that they may no longer molest learning. For, as it has been well observed, that the tales, superstitions, and
yet we wait for the time of harvest, and do not go | miraculous, but our reports are pure and unadulabout to reap moss and a green crop: being sufficiently aware that well formed axioms draw whole crowds of effects after them, and do not manifest their effects partially, but in abundance. But we wholly condemn and banish that unreasonable and puerile desire of immediately seizing some pledges as it were of new effects, which, like the apple of Atalanta, retard our course-trash which nurses instil into children, seriously such then is the office of our natural history.
With regard to its compilation, we intend not to form a history of nature at liberty and in her usual course, when she proceeds willingly and acts of her own accord, (as for instance the history of the heavenly bodies, meteors, the earth and sea, minerals, plants, animals,) but much rather a history of nature constrained and perplexed, as she is seen when thrust down from her proper rank and harassed and modelled by the art and contrivance of man. We will therefore go through all the experiments of the mechanical and the operative part of the liberal arts, and all those of different practical schemes which have not yet been put together so as to form a peculiar art: as far as we have been able to investigate them and it will suit our purpose. Besides, (to speak the truth,) without paying any attention to the pride of man, or to appearances, we consider this branch of much more assistance and support than the other since the nature of things betrays itself more by means of the operations of art than when at perfect liberty.
Nor do we present the history of bodies alone, but have thought it moreover right to exert our diligence in compiling a separate history of properties we mean those which may be called the cardinal properties of nature, and of which its very elements are composed, namely, matter with its first accidents and appetites, such as density, rarity, heat, cold, solidity, fluidity, weight, levity, and many others.
But, with regard to the nicety of natural history, we clearly require a much more delicate and simple form of experiments than those which are obvious. For we bring out and extract from obscurity many things which no one would have thought of investigating, unless he were proceeding by a sure and steady path to the discovery of causes; since they are in themselves of no great use, and it is clear that they were not sought for on their own account, but that they bear the same relation to things and effects, that the letters of the alphabet do to discourse and words, being useless indeed in themselves, but the elements of all language.
corrupt their minds, so are we careful and anxious whilst managing and watching over the infancy, as it were, of philosophy committed to the charge of natural history, that it should not from the first become habituated to any absurdity. In every new and rather delicate experiment, although to us it may appear sure and satisfactory, we yet publish the method we employed, that, by the discovery of every attendant circumstance, men may perceive the possibly latent and inherent errors, and be roused to proofs of a more certain and exact nature, if such there be. Lastly, we intersperse the whole with advice, doubts, and cautions, casting out and restraining, as it were, all phantoms by a sacred ceremony and exorcism.
Finally, since we have learned how much experience and history distract the powers of the human mind, and how difficult it is (especially for young or prejudiced intellects) to become at the first acquainted with nature, we frequently add some observations of our own, by way of showing the first tendency, as it were, and inclination or aspect of history towards philosophy; thus assuring mankind that they will not always be detained in the ocean of history, and also preparing for the time when we shall come to the work of the understanding. And by such a natural history as we are describing, we think that safe and convenient access is opened to nature, and solid and ready matter furnished to the understanding.
But after furnishing the understanding with the most surest helps and precautions, and having completed, by a rigorous levy, a complete host of divine works, nothing remains to be done but to attack Philosophy herself. In a matter so arduous and doubtful, however, a few reflections must necessarily be here inserted, partly for instruction and partly for present use.
The first of these is, that we should offer some examples of our method and course of investigation and discovery, as exhibited in particular subjects; preferring the most dignified subjects of our inquiry, and such as differ the most from each other, so that in every branch we may have an example. Nor do we speak of those examples, which are added to particular precepts and rules In the selection of our reports and experiments, by way of illustration, (for we have furnished them we consider that we have been more cautious for abundantly in the second part of our work,) but mankind than any of our predecessors. For we we mean actual types and models, calculated to admit nothing but as an eyewitness, or at least place, as it were, before our eyes the whole proupon approved and rigorously examined testi-cess of the mind, and the continuous frame and mony; so that nothing is magnified into the order of discovery in particular subjects, selected
for their variety and importance. For we recollected that in mathematics, with the diagram before our eyes, the demonstration easily and clearly followed, but without this advantage every thing appeared intricate and more subtile than was really the case. We devote, therefore, the FOURTH PART of our work to such examples, which is in fact nothing more than a particular and fully developed application of the second part.
method of investigation previously taught and prepared. But it is both beyond our power and expectation to perfect and conclude this last part. We will, however, furnish no contemptible beginning, (if our hopes deceive us not,) and men's good fortune will furnish the result; such, perhaps, as men cannot easily comprehend or define in the present state of things and the mind. For we treat not only of contemplative enjoyment, But the FIFTH PART is only used for a tempo- but of the common affairs and fortune of manrary purpose, whilst the rest are being perfected, kind, and of a complete power of action. For and is paid down as interest, until the principal man, as the minister and interpreter of nature can be raised. For we rush not so blindly to our does, and understands, as much as he has obobject, as to neglect any thing useful on our way. served of the order, operation, and mind of naWe compose this fifth part of the work therefore ture; and neither knows nor is able to do more. of those matters which we have either discovered, | Neither is it possible for any power to loosen tried, or added; without, however, employing or burst the chain of causes, nor is nature to our own method and rules for interpretation, but be overcome except by submission. Therefore merely making the same use of our understand- those two objects, human knowledge and power, ing as others are wont to do in their investiga- are really the same; and failure in action chiefly tions and discoveries. For, from our constant inter- arises from the ignorance of causes. For every course with nature, we both anticipate greater re-thing depends upon our fixing the mind's eye sults from our meditations than the mere strength of our wit would warrant; and yet such results as have been mentioned may also serve as inns upon the road for the mind to repose itself a while on its way to more certain objects. We protest, in the mean time, against any great value being set upon that which has not been discovered or proved by the true form of interpretation. There is no reason, however, for any one to be alarmed at such suspense of judgment in our method of teaching, which does not assert absolutely that nothing can be known, but that nothing can be known without a determined order and method; and in the mean time has settled some determined gradations of certitude, until the mind can repose in the full developement of causes. Nor were those schools of philosophers, who professed absolute skepticism, inferior to the others which took upon themselves to dogmatise. They did not, however, prepare helps for the senses and understanding, as we have done, but at once abolished all belief and authority, which is totally different, nay, almost opposite matter.
Lastly, the SIXTH PART of our work (to which the rest are subservient and auxiliary) discloses and propounds that philosophy which is reared and formed by the legitimate, pure, and strict
steadily in order to receive their images exactly as they exist, and may God never permit us to give out the dream of our fancy as a model of the world, but rather in his kindness vouchsafe to us the means of writing a revelation and true vision of the traces and stamps of the Creator on his creatures.
May thou, therefore, O Father, who gavest the light of vision as the first-fruits of creation, and hast inspired the countenance of man with the light of the understanding as the completion of thy works, guard and direct this work, which, proceeding from thy bounty, seeks in return thy glory. When thou turnedst to look upon the works of thy hands, thou sawest that all were very good, and restedst. But man, when he turned towards the works of his hands, saw that they were all vanity and vexation of spirit, and had no rest. Wherefore, if we labour in thy works, thou wilt make us partakers of that which thou beholdest and of thy rest. We humbly pray that our present disposition may continue firm, and that thou mayest be willing to endow thy family of mankind with new gifts through our hands, and the hands of those to whom thou wilt accord the same disposition.
The First Part of the Instauration, which comprehends the Divisions of the Sciences, is wanting. But they can be partly taken from the Second Book, "On the Progress to be made in Divine and Human Learning.”
Next followeth the Second Part of the Instauration, which exhibits the Art of interpreting Nature and of making a right Use of the Understanding; not, however, imbodied in a regular Treatise, but only summarily digested in Aphorisms.
men search for knowledge in lesser worlds, and not in the greater or common world.
ing our sentiments: namely, we must bring men | tuated by chance; and Heraclitus said well that to particulars, and their regular series and order, and they must for a while renounce their notions and begin to form an acquaintance with things. 37. Our method and that of the skeptics agree in some respects at first setting out: but differ most widely and are completely opposed to each other in their conclusion. For they roundly assert that nothing can be known; we, that but a small part of nature can be known by the present method. Their next step, however, is to destroy the authority of the senses and understanding, whilst we invent and supply them with assistance.
38. The idols and false notions which have already preoccupied the human understanding, and are deeply rooted in it, not only to beset men's minds, that they become difficult of access, but, even when access is obtained, will again meet and trouble us in the instauration of the sciences, unless mankind, when forewarned, guard themselves with all possible care against them.
39. Four species of idols beset the human mind: to which (for distinction's sake) we have assigned names: calling the first idols of the tribe; the second idols of the den; the third idols of the market; the fourth idols of the theatre.
40. The formation of notions and axioms on the foundation of true induction, is the only fitting remedy, by which we can ward off and expel these idols. It is, however, of great service to point them out. For the doctrine of idols bears the same relation to the interpretation of nature, as that of confutation of sophisms does to common logic.
41. The idols of the tribe are inherent in human nature, and the very tribe or race of man. For man's sense is falsely asserted to be the standard of things. On the contrary, all the perceptions, both of the senses and the mind, bear reference to man, and not to the universe, and the human mind resembles those uneven mirrors, which impart their own properties to different objects, from which rays are emitted, and distort and disfigure them.
42. The idols of the den are those of each individual. For everybody (in addition to the errors common to the race of man) has his own individual den or cavern, which intercepts and corrupts the light of nature; either from his own peculiar and singular disposition, or from his education and intercourse with others, or from his reading, and the authority acquired by those whom he reverences and admires, or from the different impressions produced on the mind, as it happens to be preoccupied and predisposed, or equable and tranquil, and the like: so that the spirit of man (according to its several dispositions) is variable, confused, and as it were ac
43. There are also idols formed by the reciprocal intercourse and society of man with man, which we call idols of the market, from the commerce and association of men with each other. For men converse by means of language; but words are formed at the will of the generality; and there arises from a bad and unapt formation of words a wonderful obstruction to the mind. Nor can the definitions and explanations, with which learned men are wont to guard and protect themselves in some instances, afford a complete remedy: words still manifestly force the understanding, throw every thing into confusion, and lead mankind into vain and innumerable controversies and fallacies.
44. Lastly, there are idols which have crept into men's minds from the various dogmas of peculiar systems of philosophy, and also from the perverted rules of demonstration, and these we denominate idols of the theatre. For we regard all the systems of philosophy hitherto received or imagined, as so many plays brought out and performed, creating fictitious and theatrical worlds. Nor do we speak only of the present systems, or of the philosophy and sects of the ancients, since numerous other plays of a similar nature can be still composed and made to agree with each other, the causes of the most opposite errors being generally the same. Nor, again, do we allude merely to general systems, but also to many elements and axioms of sciences, which have become inveterate by tradition, implicit credence, and neglect. We must, however, discuss each species of idols more fully and distinctly, in order to guard the human understanding against them.
45.* The human understanding, from its peculiar nature, easily supposes a greater degree of order and equality in things than it really finds; and although many things in nature be sui generis, and most irregular, will yet invent parallels and conjugates, and relatives, where no such thing is. Hence the fiction, that all celestial bodies were in perfect circles, thus rejecting entirely spiral and serpentine lines, (except as explanatory terms.) Hence, also, the element of fire is introduced with its peculiar orbit, to keep square with those other three which are objects of our senses. The relative rarity of the elements (as they are called) is arbitrarily made to vary in tenfold progression, with many other dreams of the like nature. Nor is this folly confined to theories, but it is to be met with even in simple notions.
46. The human understanding, when any proposition has been once laid down, (either from general admission and belief, or from the pleasure
*Hence to Aphorism 53 treats of the idols of the tribe.
they are found, and in fact not causable, yet, the human understanding, incapable of resting, seeks for something more intelligible. Thus, however, whilst aiming at further progress, it falls back to what is actually less advanced, namely, final causes; for they are clearly more allied to man's own nature than the system of the universe; and from this source they have wonderfully corrupted philosophy. But he would be an unskilful and shallow philosopher, who should seek for causes in the greatest generalities, and not be anxious to discover them in subordinate objects.
it affords,) forces every thing else to add fresh | generalities in nature must be positive, just as support and confirmation; and although more cogent and abundant instances may exist to the contrary, yet either does not observe or despises them, or gets rid of and rejects them by some distinction, with violent and injurious prejudice, rather than sacrifice the authority of its first conclusions. It was well answered by him who was shown in a temple the votive tablets suspended by such as had escaped the peril of shipwreck, and was pressed as to whether he would then recognise the power of the gods, by an inquiry; "But where are the portraits of those who have perished in spite of their vows?" All superstition is much the same, whether it be that of astrology, dreams, omens, retributive judgment, or the like; in all of which the deluded believers observe events which are fulfilled, but neglect and pass over their failure, though it be much more common. But this evil insinuates itself still more craftily in philosophy and the sciences; in which a settled maxim vitiates and governs every other circumstance, though the latter be much more worthy of confidence. Besides, even in the absence of that eagerness and want of thought, (which we have mentioned,) it is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives, whereas it ought duly and regularly to be impartial; nay, in establishing any true axiom, the negative instance is the most powerful.
47. The human understanding is most excited by that which strikes and enters the mind at once and suddenly, and by which the imagination is immediately filled and inflated. It then begins almost imperceptibly to conceive and suppose that every thing is similar to the few objects which have taken possession of the mind; whilst it is very slow and unfit for the transition to the remote and heterogeneous instances, by which axioms are tried as by fire, unless the office be imposed upon it by severe regulations, and a powerful authority.
48. The human understanding is active and cannot halt or rest, but even, though without effect, still presses forward. Thus we cannot conceive of any end or external boundary of the world, and it seems necessarily to occur to us, that there must be something beyond. Nor can we imagine how eternity has flowed on down to the present day, since the usually received distinction of an infinity, a parte ante and a parte post, cannot hold good: for it would thence follow that one infinity is greater than another, and also that infinity is wasting away and tending to an end. There is the same difficulty in considering the infinite divisibility of lines, arising from the weakness of our minds, which weakness interferes to still greater disadvantage with the discovery of causes. For, although the greatest
49. The human understanding resembles not a dry light, but admits a tincture of the will and passions, which generate their own system accordingly: for man always believes more readily that which he prefers. He, therefore, rejects difficulties for want of patience in investigation; sobriety, because it limits his hope; the depths of nature, from superstition; the light of experiment, from arrogance and pride, lest his mind should appear to be occupied with common and varying objects; paradoxes, from a fear of the opinion of the vulgar; in short, his feelings imbue and corrupt his understanding in innumerable and sometimes imperceptible ways.
50. But by far the greatest impediment and aberration of the human understanding proceeds from the dulness, incompetency, and errors of the senses since whatever strikes the senses preponderates over every thing, however superior, which does not immediately strike them. Hence contemplation mostly ceases with sight; and a very scanty, or perhaps no regard is paid to invisible objects. The entire operation, therefore, of spirits enclosed in tangible bodies is concealed and escapes us. All that more delicate change of formation in the parts of coarser substances (vulgarly called alteration, but in fact a change of position in the smallest particles) is equally unknown; and yet, unless the two matters we have mentioned be explored and brought to light, no great effect can be produced in nature. Again, the very nature of common air, and all bodies of less density (of which there are many) is almost unknown. For the senses are weak and erring, nor can instruments be of great use in extending their sphere or acuteness; all the better interpretations of nature are worked out by instances, and fit and apt experiments, where the senses only judge of the experiment, the experiment of nature and the thing itself.
51. The human understanding is, by its own nature, prone to abstraction, and supposes that which is fluctuating to be fixed. But it is better to dissect than abstract nature; such was the method employed by the school of Democritus, which made greater progress in penetrating nature than the rest. It is best to consider matter, its