Analecto

3 de agosto de 2019

What I learned by reading “Novum Organum”.

Filed under: Livros — Tags:, , , , — Yure @ 11:14

Novum Organum” was written by Francis Bacon. Below, what I learned reading this text.

  1. Nature is an inexhaustible source of study.
  2. If you think there is no truth about anything, no one can blame you: the multitude of “right” answers leads us to skepticism.
  3. Often, the only way to know if something can be known or not is to try to know it.
  4. It’s hard to be original without knowing the past.
  5. The hand and the intellect need coordinated action.
  6. Knowledge is power.
  7. Man can manipulate nature by playing with its elements, but he is unable to add anything new to nature.
  8. What is impossible so far will remain impossible unless you try it in a way no one has tried yet.
  9. Much current science is combinatorial: two or more previous discoveries are tied together into something new.
  10. It must be recognized that the human mind is limited, that the mind needs external help.
  11. We will never know everything.
  12. Logic must advance before science can advance.
  13. The concepts we use need to be properly defined .
  14. Something needs to be properly filtered and corrected before it can be used as an axiom.
  15. Dialectical debate is conceptual and does not replace empirical demonstration.
  16. The dialectical debate only works outside the natural and exact sciences.
  17. Debates are more useful to the humanities.
  18. Scientific advancement can only be significant if there is a change in the foundations of science, because those foundations are taken for granted and are hard to change (while all science depends on such foundations).
  19. It is rather unproductive to compare methods without discussing what works best.
  20. We learn new things by comparing them to things we already know.
  21. By checking the regularity of phenomena, it is possible to elucidate them in a general rule (or “law”).
  22. The rule is all the safer the more particular phenomena are observed.
  23. It is possible to know things, but how much we know about them depends on the validity of our methods.
  24. If a person believes in something wrong, you should demonstrate them that things aren’t the way they think.
  25. Do not generalize personal experiences.
  26. Your education may be wrong.
  27. There is a difference between word and object that a word refers to, so don’t let the words fool you.
  28. What makes something true is not the authority of the person who claims it to be true.
  29. Similar things are not identical.
  30. The human mind is hungry for perfections that do not exist in nature (such as geometric shapes, which are abstractions and are nowhere in nature).
  31. If the error pleases, everything is done to perpetuate the error.
  32. When something big happens suddenly, we begin to make assumptions, momentarily forgetting how science is made.
  33. The human intellect is in a hurry: it wants to know the causes of what is universal without knowing the causes of what is particular.
  34. In general, we confuse truth with personal preference.
  35. Research is affected by the researcher’s feelings.
  36. The senses can deceive and the instruments for extending the ability of the senses do not guarantee certainty.
  37. One can only know the phenomenon, but never the thing itself.
  38. It is a common temptation to subject science to our wishes and to how we think things should be.
  39. There are those who are better at noticing similarities and those who are better at noticing differences.
  40. One cannot worry too much about the elements of nature to the point of neglecting the structure that unites them.
  41. One has to alternate the moments of element analysis and structure analysis.
  42. The constant use of words subjects reasoning to language.
  43. Example: Sometimes we name and define things that do not exist, causing empty concepts to infiltrate in a reasoning.
  44. The same word can be taken in many different ways and ambiguity affects the reasoning.
  45. To talk about words abstracted from concrete objects is to make bad philosophy.
  46. Do not mix your faith with your science or philosophy.
  47. Reasoning with words and meanings is incomplete and becomes wrong when it contradicts the concrete object.
  48. Alchemy aims to extract general rules from very few examples.
  49. Natural philosophy likes to imagine that there are elements that compete with each other in the composition of matter and also that there are ideal beings latent in nature, which is fun but unlikely to be true.
  50. Make the truth useful to yourself.
  51. When you tell yourself that there is no truth, your interest in knowledge becomes weak.
  52. The fact that it is not possible to know everything should not be taken as an excuse not to study.
  53. Let’s not jump to conclusions about the research results.
  54. Science is no joke.
  55. Before starting the experiment, choose the right axioms beforehand.
  56. An experimental conclusion is worth more than the conclusion of a debate.
  57. One should do science without worrying about what others will think of the results.
  58. Philosophy without action is nothing, but words.
  59. If the Greeks had traveled more, perhaps their science would be even greater.
  60. The effect is known before it’s cause.
  61. If you discovered something by chance, you have nothing to brag about.
  62. A philosophical system or a scientific model must be evaluated according to its results.
  63. The fact that I cannot understand something does not indicate that such thing is incomprehensible.
  64. If philosophy were rigorous, there would not be so many philosophical schools thinking so differently.
  65. Methodological rigor brings researchers together and harmonizes the conclusions.
  66. The philosophies prior to Aristotle have not disappeared, and those who say that there was nothing better than Aristotle for centuries are precisely Aristotle fanboys!
  67. Consensus does not mean truth.
  68. When the people applaud you, ask if they have any complaints.
  69. The days of natural philosophy were very short: when Socrates appeared, people quickly forgot about studying nature and began to focus on studying men only.
  70. Studying nature is always fruitful in results, while studying something outside of natural sciences is fruitful in disagreements.
  71. The goal of science is to make people’s lives easier.
  72. The method has to be decided first of all.
  73. Makes no sense to think that empirical experience diminishes the majesty of the mind.
  74. Several books can say the same thing.
  75. When the alchemist fails an experiment, he blames himself for not understanding what his master meant, but it does not occur to him that his books may be wrong.
  76. A modest real hero is better than a great hero of fiction.
  77. If a science judges itself, it will probably never be condemned.
  78. A study can’t be reviewed by the authors, but always by someone eles.
  79. It is a vain glory to think that you already know all there is to know.
  80. The same phenomenon can manifest itself in different objects.
  81. Studying a phenomenon in only one object is very restricted.
  82. Science and religion should not mix.
  83. To bring philosophy into religion is to make philosophy dogmatic.
  84. The Scriptures reveal the divine will.
  85. The study of nature reveals the means God uses to accomplish His will.
  86. University can be too disciplining…
  87. Trying to be original in academia is difficult because you will have little support.
  88. It is rare that a new invention is rewarded by the state or the population.
  89. If we think something is impossible, we will not try it in the first place, even if we are wrong and it’s, in fact, possible.
  90. Identifying errors is the first step in fixing them.
  91. Empiricists are like ants: they accumulate resources to use them.
  92. Rationalists are like spiders: they get what they need from themselves.
  93. The middle ground is the bee: it collects resources from outside, but does not use them without first digesting them.
  94. The best science is done by combining experience and reason.
  95. Natural history is the description of facts; natural philosophy is its recontextualization and reflection.
  96. The results of meditation should be written down.
  97. There must be regular and gradual ascent from the particular to the universal.
  98. The more particular cases observed, the better the law on a given phenomenon will be.
  99. The human being has higher abilities than the ones possessed by animals, but he does not always use them.
  100. The impossible yesterday may be possible today.
  101. People spend a lot of money, time and research in designing useless inventions.
  102. We spend a lot of time thinking and little time acting.
  103. When working in groups, even if everyone wants the same goal, everyone must have a role to play in achieving that goal.
  104. Not trying is worse than failing.
  105. When criticizing the old, propose something new.
  106. If you keep your goal in mind, the path towards it will be easier to follow.
  107. It is strange that we study the things that are unusual and that rarely occur, neglecting the study of things that occur daily.
  108. It seems that only rare things are interesting to study in depth, while ordinary things are studied superficially.
  109. Science should not avoid uncomfortable themes.
  110. Experiments that merely clarify certain obscure things are also valid, because experiments aimed at concrete goals depend on clear axioms.
  111. It is presumptuous to say that metaphysics is the science of divine things.
  112. Not only should the product be presented, but also the scientific process by which the product was made.
  113. While civil and legal achievements affect communities throughout a historical period, technological achievements affect the entire world forever.
  114. A high-tech man can be mistaken for a god by low-tech people.
  115. What is mechanical to us is magic to low-tech people.
  116. Technology has more influence on the course of human history than anything else in this world.
  117. Any technology can have its purpose perverted, but that doesn’t make technology bad; evil are those who pervert it.
  118. True knowing is knowledge of causes.
  119. The final cause is detrimental to science, but not to civil acts: if we want to do an “impartial” science, we have to assume that things in nature were not made for any particular purpose and that purposing things is a human procedure that doesn’t exist in nature.
  120. If you know the cause of something only while affecting certain bodies, you do not know the cause perfectly well.
  121. If I know how a phenomenon works, I can manipulate it as I wish.
  122. A real atom is worth more than a hypothetical one.
  123. Mathematics should be used in the study of nature.
  124. Science is a two-way street: from experiments to axioms, from axioms to new experiments.
  125. The first way (from experiment to axiom) requires sensory experience, memory, and reasoning.
  126. Before deciding on the nature of heat, for example, we should note in which situations heat occurs.
  127. It is necessary to check whether opposite situations cease the phenomenon: if we think that the day is a heat-prone situation, we should consider whether, by chance, heat does not occur at night.
  128. There are phenomena that can only occur in a controlled environment.
  129. After checking in which situations the phenomenon occurs and in which opposite situations it does not occur, we should check the conditions that increase or decrease the phenomenon.
  130. What a scientific authority says is only valid if an experiment proves it to be that way.
  131. Do not confuse the definition of something with that thing’s behavior.
  132. Migrant body: submissive to contingency.
  133. It’s easier to remember emotionally charged experiences.
  134. Science is more productive if you pay more attention to the similarities between things rather than the differences as long as they are real similarities.
  135. Exceptions have the power to get us out of the everyday habit of interpreting everything the same way.
  136. If nature does not work according to final causes, it is wrong to call any phenomenon an “accident,” because it implies an aim-oriented course.
  137. Variations between specimens of existing species are more common than the appearance of entirely new species.
  138. The fact that a person is a Ph. D. doesn’t imply that we can’t perform better than him.
  139. Human artifice can hasten natural processes.
  140. Different living things need different amounts of heat.
  141. Nothingness is infertile.
  142. Do not damage the object you are studying.
  143. If you don’t want interference, conduct your experiment in controlled environment.
  144. The universe is the measure of things, not man.
  145. Phenomena of the same nature consume each other: the stronger heat consumes the weaker, the louder sound drowns out the lowest, the most intense stench makes the mildest imperceptible.
  146. Knowledge begins in the senses.
  147. Light moves faster than sound.
  148. The river is not easily corrupted because of the movement of the current, the air is kept pure if it remains circulating…
  149. Sounds propagate even after the source of the sound has ceased.
  150. Every matter has its limit.
  151. Human beings can manipulate a phenomenon away from its natural conditions.
  152. You are an adult when you have the ability to think for yourself, make your decisions, and bear the consequences.
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