Francis Bacon, meet University Education

In my 17th C. Literature class, we're talking about Francis Bacon. He's the guy who made all that noise about the scientific revolution and the inductive method and the superiority of the thinking of single, childless men. I disagree with a lot of what he says, but that's mostly because I already believe most of it (as a child of the enlightenment...)
I really like Bacon's style, though; he's clear and precise, with enough exemples and allusions to keep things grounded.
My favourite passage is undoubtably Aphorism LIX; "Idols of the Marketplace."
"Now words, being commonly framed and applied according to the capacity of the vulgar, follow those lines of division which are most obvious to 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..."
"There are however in words certain degrees of distortion and error. Of the least faulty kinds is that of names of substances, especially of lower species and well deduced (for the notion of chalk and of mud is good, earth is bad); a more faulty kind is that of actions...; the most faulty is of qualities ... as heavy, light, rare, dense, and the like."

After our discussion of the inductive method, the Professor proceeded to break almost all of Bacon's rules: she described the Baroque style as "pithy, tight and aphoristic" and generalized at length about Bacon's style without giving any examples.
I asked her afterward if the approach was intentional, and she defended herself by noting that while her description was (unintentionally) ironic in its ambiguity, she did not appeal to an Aristotelian system for proof.

On the plus side, this Professor mentioned her fascination with and admiration for the Wikipedia. After several heated discussions with other professors concerning the validity of a democritized knowledge resource, I was ecstatic.

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