more from Francis Bacon

Single Idea 6603

[catalogued under 14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 3. Experiment]

Full Idea

The secrets of nature reveal themselves more readily under the vexations of art than when they go their own way.


'Art' here means human skill

Gist of Idea

Nature is revealed when we put it under pressure rather than observe it


Francis Bacon (Preface to Great Instauration (Renewal) [1620], Vol.4.95), quoted by Robert Fogelin - Walking the Tightrope of Reason Ch.5

Book Reference

Fogelin,Robert: 'Walking the Tightrope of Reason' [OUP 2004], p.138

A Reaction

This is a splendid slogan for the dawn of the age of science, and pinpoints the reason why we have advanced so much further than the Greeks. You can, of course, overdo the 'vexations of art'. It also justifies the critical approach to philosophy.