Bacon's Four Idols

Topics: Thought, Human, Psychology Pages: 3 (824 words) Published: November 13, 2012
Bacon’s “The Four Idols”
Bacon’s “The Four Idols” is about the reasoning behind our difficulties in understanding the world around us. Bacon describes four types of idols which are the idols of the Tribe; the second, idols of the Cave; the third, idols of the Marketplace, and the fourth, idols of the Theatre, which in his point of view are natural features of human nature that are common to us all. In order to improve our understanding of the world, we as individuals need see things in the correct state of mind, and correct the inadequacies we think that are true. According to Bacon, “Human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it” (582) which means our senses, according to Bacon these were not very well developed because we can easily be fooled by them. Our tendency to see order and pattern where there is none. Bacon claimed that we tend to look at random events and will somehow force them to fit a pattern. Bacon states, “… All perceptions as well of the sense as of the mind are according to the measure of the individual and not according to the measure of the universe” (582). Wishful thinking is what Bacon believes that we naturally want to believe that which we want to be true, and the false idea which now has possession of the human understanding. Bacon also believed we as individuals are natural to have our own judgments and believe our own judgments and conclusions rather than when we should carefully gather evidence before we judge. Bacon states, “The human understanding is of its own nature prone to suppose the existence of more order and regularity in the world than it finds” (584).

Idols of the Tribe are deceptive beliefs inherited in the mind of a man, and therefore belonging to the human race. When a man has set his mind to believing what he sees, they extend their opinions and gain dignity and are said to be the facts until the...
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