Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Francis Bacon (1561- 1626)

I was reading this book called ESSENTIALS OF PHILOSOPHY by James Mannion and I wanted to share this topic about Francis Bacon.
Francis Bacon was a British politician and businessman who took a scientific approach to philosophy. He studied the world as an empirical observer would and attempted to avoid bringing his preconceptions and prejudices into the proceedings.
Bacon proposed that, in order to truly understand the world, we must first be aware of the various obstacles and distractions that prevent us from seeing things clearly. He identified these impediments as IDOLS.
This refers to the sense of self-importance that people have about their place in the grand design of things and their penchant to take at face value the observations of our senses. In other words, everything may not be what it appears to be, and we should be aware of that.
This speaks about our tendencies to make generalizations about the world at large based on our limited experience in our little corner of the world. Put in simple terms, never assume anything.
This deals with the imperfections of language as a means of communication. By attempting to understand the wonders around us and describing them via the limits of language, we do not do them justice nor are we fully able to comprehend them.
These are the inherent flaws of Philosophy itself. Great thinkers devise and put forth lofty notions about things, but these are beliefs built on the shaky foundation of our own faulty perceptions.
He also said that once we notice the effects that these Idols have on upon us, we will be in a position to avoid them, and our knowledge of nature will accordingly improve.
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There arise a lot of questions in my mind when I think about all this...What then is truth?? What do we believe?? Isn't there something called Instincts that drive us?? Well, if we start to doubt everything, then won't we be at the edge of insanity?? Isn't there a reason why things happen around us and to us in a specific way?? I can agree about prejudices and preconceptions...but whatever we know, we know from this world around us right?? And whatever we perceive is a creative manipulation of whatever was already there right??
or..or maybe Truth is Intangible...or the fact that Truth is Intangible is Tangible...??

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