Points Made by Francis Bacon in The Four Idols

Idols of the Tribe

--hindrances to understanding based on human nature
  1. People try to make things fit into patterns
  2. People look for evidence to support their conclusions
  3. People don't like to think deeply
  4. People have trouble conceiving the finite/infinity
  5. People are affected by what they want to believe
  6. People have senses that can fool them--they see what they expect to see
  7. People like to abstract/generalize

Idols of the Cave

--hindrances to understanding based on individual shortcomings
  1. Individuals favor ideas that support previous conclusions
  2. Some individuals favor differences; others favor similarities
  3. Some individuals favor antiquity; others favor novelty
  4. Some individuals favor the parts to the exclusion of the whole; others favor the whole to the exclusion of parts

Idols of the Marketplace

--hindrances to understanding based on words
  1. People imagine and name things that do not exist
  2. Words have a range of meanings

Idols of the Theater

--hindrances to understanding based on a system of philosophy, theology, or tradition
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Last updated March 29, 2004.
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