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moments, limits, and laws of motions and alterations (by means whereof all works and effects are produced), is a matter of a far other nature than to consist in such easy and wild generalities.
Of the great error of inquiring knowledge in Anticipations. That I call Anticipations the voluntary collections that the mind maketh of knowledge; which is every man's reason. That though this be a solemn thing, and serves the turn to negotiate between man and man (because of the conformity and participation of men's minds in the like errors), yet towards inquiry of the truth of things and works it is of no value. That civil respects are a lett that this pretended reason should not be so contemptibly spoken of as were fit and medicinable, in regard that hath been too much exalted and glorified, to the infinite detriment of man's estate. Of the nature of words and their facility and aptness to cover and grace the defects of Anticipations. That it is no marvel if these Anticipations have brought forth such diversity and repugnance in opinions, theories, or philosophies, as so many fables of several arguments. That had not the nature of civil customs and government been in most times somewhat adverse to such innovations, though contemplative, there might have been and would have been many more. That the second school of the Academics and the sect of Pyrrho, or the considerers that denied comprehension, as to the disabling of man's knowledge (entertained in Anticipations) is well to be allowed, but that they ought when they had overthrown and purged the floor of the ruins to have sought to build better in place. And more especially that they did unjustly and prejudicially to charge the deceit upon the report of the senses, which admitteth very sparing remedy; being indeed to have been charged upon the Anticipations of the mind, which admitteth a perfect remedy. That the information of the senses is sufficient, not because they err not, but because the use of the sense in discovering of knowledge is for the most part not immediate. So that it is the work, effect, or instance, that trieth the Axiom, and the sense doth but try the work done or not done, being or not being. That the mind of man in collecting So MS. by mistake probably for it; the transcriber taking yt for y'. 2 fuble in MS.
knowledge needeth great variety of helps, as well as the hand of man in manual and mechanical practices needeth great variety of instruments. And that it were a poor work that if instruments were removed men would overcome with their naked hands. And of the distinct points of want and insufficiency in the mind of man.
That the mind of a man, as it is not a vessel of that content or receipt to comprehend knowledge without helps and supplies, so again it is not sincere, but of an ill and corrupt tincture. Of the inherent and profound errors and superstitions in the nature of the mind, and of the four sorts of Idols or false appearances that offer themselves to the understanding in the inquisition of knowledge; that is to say, the Idols of the Tribe, the Idols of the Palace, the Idols of the Cave, and the Idols of the Theatre. That these four, added to the incapacity of the mind and the vanity and malignity of the affections, leave nothing but impotency and confusion. A recital of the particular kinds of these four Idols, with some chosen examples of the opinions they have begot, such of them as have supplanted the state of knowledge most.
Of the errors of such as have descended and applied themselves to experience, and attempted to induce knowledge upon particulars. That they have not had the resolution and strength of mind to free themselves wholly from Anticipations, but have made a confusion and intermixture of Anticipations and observations, and so vanished. That if any have had the strength of mind generally to purge away and discharge all Anticipations, they have not had that greater and double strength and patience of mind, as well to repel new Anticipations after the view and search of particulars, as to reject old which were in their mind before; but have from particulars and history flown up to principles without the mean degrees, and so framed all the middle generalities or axioms, not by way of scale or ascension from particulars, but by way of de
rivation from principles; whence hath issued the infinite chaos of shadows and notions, wherewith both books and minds have been hitherto, and may be yet hereafter much more pestered. That in the course of those derivations, to make them yet the more unprofitable, they have used when any light of new instance opposite to any assertion appeared, rather to reconcile the instance than to amend the rule. That if any have had or shall have the power and resolution to fortify and inclose his mind against all Anticipations, yet if he have not been or shall not be cautioned by the full understanding of the nature of the mind and spirit of man, and therein of the seats pores and passages both of knowledge and error, he hath not been nor shall not be possibly able to guide or keep on his course aright. That those that have been conversant in experience and observation have used, when they have intended to discover the cause of any effect, to fix their consideration narrowly and exactly upon that effect itself with all the circumstances thereof, and to vary the trial thereof as many ways as can be devised; which course amounteth but to a tedious curiosity, and ever breaketh off in wondering and not in knowing; and that they have not used to enlarge their observation to match and sort that effect with instances of a diverse subject, which 3 must of necessity be before any cause be found out. That they have passed over the observation of instances vulgar and ignoble, and stayed their attention chiefly upon instances of mark; whereas the other sort are for the most part more significant and of better light and information. That every particular that worketh any effect is a thing compounded (more or less) of diverse single natures, (more manifest and more obscure,) and that it appeareth not to whether of the natures the effect is to be ascribed, and yet notwithstanding they have taken a course without breaking particulars and reducing them by exclusions and inclusions to a definite point, to conclude upon inductions in gross, which empirical course is no less vain than the scholastical. That all such as have sought action and work out of their inquiry have been hasty and pressing to
This word is written between the lines in Bacon's hand, and I am not sure that I read it right. Stephens read it moths, which is certainly wrong. It is more like nocons than any word I can think of.
2 hath in MS.
The words "according to their own rules" follow in the MS., but a line is drawn through them.
discover some practices for present use, and not to discover Axioms, joining with them the new assignations as their sureties. That the forerunning of the mind to frame recipes upon Axioms at the entrance, is like Atalanta's golden ball that hindereth and interrupteth the course, and is to be inhibited till you have ascended to a certain stage and degree of generalities; which forbearance will be liberally recompensed in the end; and that chance discovereth new inventions by one and one, but science by knots and clusters. That they have not collected sufficient quantity of particulars, nor them in sufficient certainty and subtilty, nor of all several kinds, nor with those advantages and discretions in the entry and sorting which are requisite; and of the weak manner of collecting natural history which hath been used. Lastly that they had no knowledge of the formulary of interpretation, the work whereof is to abridge experience and to make things as certainly found out by Axiom in short time, as by infinite experiences in ages.
That the cautels and devices put in practice in the delivery of knowledge for the covering and palliating of ignorance, and the gracing and overvaluing of that they utter, are without number; but none more bold and more hurtful than two; the one that men have used of a few observations upon any subject to make a solemn and formal art, by filling it up with discourse, accommodating it with some circumstances and directions to practice, and digesting it into method, whereby men grow satisfied and secure, as if no more inquiry were to be made of that matter; the other, that men have used to discharge ignorance with credit, in defining all those effects which they cannot attain unto to be out of the compass of art and human endeavour. That the very styles and forms of utterance are so many characters of imposture, some choosing a style of pugnacity and contention, some of satire and reprehension, some of plausible and tempting similitudes and examples, some of great words and high discourse, some of short and dark sentences, some of exactness of method, all of positive affirmation, without disclosing the true motives and proofs of their opinions, or free confessing their ignorance or doubts,
except it be now and then for a grace, and in cunning to win the more credit in the rest, and not in good faith. That although men be free from these errors and incumbrances in the will and affection, yet it is not a thing so easy as is conceived to convey the conceit of one man's mind into the mind of another without loss or mistaking, specially in notions new and differing from those that are received. That never any knowledge was delivered in the same order it was invented, no not in the mathematic, though it should seem otherwise in regard that the propositions placed last do use the propositions or grants placed first for their proof and demonstration. That there are forms and methods of tradition wholly distinct and differing, according to their ends whereto they are directed. That there are two ends of tradition of knowledge, the one to teach and instruct for use and practice, the other to impart or intimate for re-examination and progression. That the former of these ends requireth a method not the same whereby it was invented and induced, but such as is most compendious and ready whereby it may be used and applied. That the latter of the ends, which is where a knowledge is delivered to be continued and spun on by a succession of labours, requireth a method whereby it may be transposed to another in the same manner as it was collected, to the end it may be discerned bath where the work is weak, and where it breaketh off. That this latter method is not only unfit for the former end, but also impossible for all knowledge gathered and insinuated by Anticipations, because the mind working inwardly of itself, no man can give a just account how he came to that knowledge which he hath received, and that therefore this method is peculiar for knowledge gathered by interpretation. That the discretion anciently observed, though by the precedent of many vain persons and deceivers disgraced, of publishing part, and reserving part to a private succession, and of publishing in a manner whereby it shall not be to the capacity nor taste of all, but shall as it were single and adopt his reader, is not to be laid aside, both for the avoiding of abuse in the excluded, and the strengthening of affection in the admitted. That there are other virtues of tradition, as that there be no occasion given to error, and that it carry a vigour to root and spread against the vanity of wits and injuries of time; all which if they were ever due to any knowledge delivered, or if they were never