Francis Bacon: Idols of the Mind

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Ashton Nalley SOC 101 5/27/15 Idols of the mind In Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum, he explains why and what idols cloud our minds of getting to the real truth and understanding. An idol to Bacon is an image in the mind that someone adores and worships but has no real importance itself. He shows us this by breaking the idols into four groups; Idols of the Tribe, Idols of the Cave, Idols of the Market-place, and Idols of the Theatre. His purpose for creating these idols is to free our minds from them so that we can truly understand and not have prejudices toward scientific inquiry. It is important to consider these idols so that nothing clouds our thoughts and we have a clear understanding of how and why these idols do that to us (Bacon). The first Idol Bacon talks about is the Idol of the Tribe. Idols of the tribe have their foundation in human nature itself, and in the tribe of men. All perceptions are according to the measure of the individual and not according to the measure of the universe. The fault in this idol is that we think our perceptions are true and can be trusted without any real scientific or logical proof (Bacon). I experienced this idol one day when I was riding my horse. We went to cross over a muddy stream and I could not see the bottom of it but assumed it would be fine because the stream itself was only three feet long. I also assumed that my horse would just jump right over it. Instead of getting off and checking it myself, I crossed it anyways and my horses hoof ended up sinking in the mud and about broke his leg in the process of trying to get out. I perceived that everything would be fine and trusted my gut, which about caused serious consequences. The second Idol Bacon came up with was the Idol of the Cave. Idols of the Cave are the idols of the individual man. This idol controls the mind by only learning the particular interests of
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