Bacon against Plato

«Let Plato next be summoned to the bar, that mocking wit, that swelling poet, that deluded theologian. Your philosophy, Plato, was but scraps of borrowed information polished and strung together. Your wisdom was a sham which you imposed by an affectation of ignorance. By your vague inductions you took men’s minds off their guard and weakened their mental sinews. But you had at least the merit of supplying table-talk for men of culture and experience of affairs, even indeed of adding grace and charm to everyday conversation. When, however, you gave out the falsehood that truth is, as it were, the native inhabitant of the human mind and need not come in from, outside to take up its abode there; when you turned our minds away from observation, away from things, to which it is impossible we should ever be sufficiently respectful and attentive; when you taught us to turn our mind’s eye inward and grovel before our own blind and confused idols under the name of contemplative philosophy; then truly you dealt us a mortal blow. Nor should it be forgotten that you were guilty of no less a sin when you deified your folly and presumed to shore up your contemptible thoughts with the prop of religion.»

– Francis Bacon, “Temporis Partus Masculus“, 1603.


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