more from Francis Bacon

Single Idea 12121

[catalogued under 12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 1. Empiricism]

Full Idea

They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.

Gist of Idea

We don't assume there is no land, because we can only see sea


Francis Bacon (The Advancement of Learning [1605], II.VII.5)

Book Reference

Bacon,Francis: 'Advancement of Learning/New Atlantis' [OUP 1966], p.110

A Reaction

Just the sort of pithy remark for which Bacon is famous. It is an obvious point, but a nice corrective to anyone who wants to apply empirical principles in a rather gormless way.