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Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Friday, February 24, 2012

Psychopathy

Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work is a book by industrial psychologist Paul Babiak, Ph.D. and psychopathy expert Dr Robert D. Hare, Ph.D. published in 2006.
It covers the nature of psychopaths in the context of employment and explains
  • how psychopaths manipulate their way into work and get promoted,
  • the effects of their presence on colleagues and corporations, and
  • the superficial similarities (and fundamental differences) between leadership skills and psychopathic traits.
The work is interlaced with fictional narrative illustrating how the factual content applies to real-life situations.

***



I had been doing some reading on Psychopathy.

I first came across the book while going through a second hand store. I had previously been doing some research. It so happen the book cover image was something I recognized on the shelf,  so I  paid a sum of  $6.00.  I had thought what a deal. It's something I do when I scour second hand stores.  I am always heading directly for the books.

Anyway,  there are reasons that I had been doing this research.  It also raises some concern as to how people not qualified could have judged each other without really having the credentials for doing so. Not that anyone said I was, but it concerns me that one could lack that empathy and emotional force within. Have a disregard for how other people could be hurt emotionally by such callus.


***



ABOUT  "I am <fishead(" MOVIE
by MISHA VOTRUBA and VACLAV DEJCMAR


Narrated by Peter Coyote


how psychopaths and antidepressants influence our society
a provocative snapshot of the world we live in



It is a well-known fact that our society is structured like a pyramid. The very few people at the top create conditions for the majority below. Who are these people? Can we blame them for the problems our society faces today? Guided by the saying "A fish rots from the head." we set out to follow that fishy odor. What we found out is that people at the top are more likely to be psychopaths than the rest of us.



Who, or what, is a psychopath? Unlike Hollywood's stereotypical image, they are not always blood-thirsty monsters from slasher movies. Actually, that nice lady who chatted you up on the subway this morning could be one. So could your elementary school teacher, your grinning boss, or even your loving boyfriend. The medical definition is simple: A psychopath is a person who lacks empathy and conscience, the quality which guides us when we choose between good and evil, moral or not. Most of us are conditioned to do good things. Psychopaths are not. Their impact on society is staggering, yet altogether psychopaths barely make up one percent of the population.
SEE:  "I am fishead

***



WATCH#1 from fishead on Vimeo.


WATCH#2 from fishead on Vimeo.

See Also: Business-Scan (B-SCAN) by P. Babiak, Ph.D. & R. D. Hare, Ph.D.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Google Books Library Project

What's the goal of this project?
The Library Project's aim is simple: make it easier for people to find relevant books – specifically, books they wouldn't find any other way such as those that are out of print – while carefully respecting authors' and publishers' copyrights. Our ultimate goal is to work with publishers and libraries to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages that helps users discover new books and publishers discover new readers. See: Google Books
I was asked by my daughter about one of these devices whether I preferred the new device or the paper books. I would have to say I do favor the paperback but also look for advantages as to provide access to information as detrimental to providing society with the tools necessary. Receiving a gift certificate for 50 dollars to one of the books stores I might add this for a electronic purchase.

What brought this subject up was the update on the new electronic devices out there that allow you to read and download books for reading. Over the years being an advocate of sorts for the electronic development of our cultures I could see where such devices would allow extraordinary freedom to carry's a lot of books in one location. So there has to be lots said about not being in in the mood for reading one book while being attentive to others for research material. Sort of like closing in on a cold case file or something like that may have been missed supportive by research material.

So under the auspice of attaining a library of sorts was appealing to me and I thought advantages to society that cold not travel distances to the libraries yet have access from the rural locations.

***


The Google Books Library Project is an effort by Google to scan and make searchable the collections of several major research libraries.[1] The project, along with Google's Partner Program, comprise Google Books (formerly Google Book Search). Along with bibliographic information, snippets of text from a book are often viewable. If a book is out of copyright and in the public domain, the book is fully available to read or to download.[2]

   
1 Participants

 Participants

The Google Books Library Project continues to evolve;[3] however, only some of the institutional partners are listed on the web page currently maintained by Google:[4]

 Initial Project Partners

The number of academic libraries participating in the digitization and uploading of books from their collections has grown beyond the original five: Harvard, Michigan, Stanford, Oxford, and the New York Public Library.

 Harvard University

Harvard University (and Harvard University Library) is an institutional participant in the project.[5] The Harvard University Library (HUL) today is best understood as a coordinated system of more than 80 libraries with shared holdings. The University Library is also a department of the University's central administration through which the libraries collaborate in the areas of digital acquisitions and collections, information technology, high-density storage, and preservation.[6]
The Harvard University Library and Google are building on a successful pilot conducted by Harvard and Google throughout 2005. The project will increase Internet access to the holdings of the Harvard University Library, which includes more than 15.8 million volumes. While physical access to Harvard's library materials generally is restricted to current Harvard students, faculty, and researchers, or to scholars who can come to Cambridge, the Harvard-Google Project has been designed to enable both members of the Harvard community and users everywhere to discover works in the Harvard collection.
"The new century presents important new opportunities for libraries, including Harvard's, and for those individuals who use them. The collaboration between major research libraries and Google will create an important public good of benefit to students, teachers, scholars, and readers everywhere. The project harnesses the power of the Internet to allow users to identify books of interest with a precision and at a speed previously unimaginable. The user will then be guided to find books in local libraries or to purchase them from publishers and book vendors. And, for books in the public domain, there will be even broader access."[4]
"The Harvard-Google Project links the search power of the Internet to the depth of knowledge in Harvard's world-renowned libraries. Harvard has been collecting books for nearly four centuries. Among our out-of-copyright books are countless unique copies, unusual editions, and neglected or forgotten works. Our efforts with Google will bring about the broad dissemination of the knowledge contained in those books and, with it, significant information about the world views that those books represent .... By working with Google, Harvard is furthering an essential aspect of the University Library's mission, which is to serve scholars around the world."
-- Sidney Verba, the former Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and former Director of the University Library.[5]

 New York Public Library

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is an institutional participant in the project.[7]
In this pilot program, NYPL is working with Google to offer a collection of its public domain books, which will be scanned in their entirety and made available for free to the public online. Users will be able to search and browse the full text of these works. When the scanning process is complete, the books may be accessed from both The New York Public Library's website and from the Google search engine. [7]
"The New York Public Library Research Libraries were struck by the convergence of Google's mission with their own. We see the digitization project as a transformational moment in the access to information and wanted not only to learn from it but also to influence it. Our response at present is a conservative one, with a limited number of volumes in excellent condition, in selected languages and in the public domain. With appropriate evaluation of this limited participation, we look forward to a more expansive collaboration in the future."
-– David Ferriero, Andrew W. Mellon Director and Chief Executive of the Research Libraries, The New York Public Library.[4]

 Stanford University

Stanford University (and Stanford University Libraries/SULAIR) is an institutional participant in the project.[8]
"Stanford has been digitizing texts for years now to make them more accessible and searchable, but with books, as opposed to journals, such efforts have been severely limited in scope for both technical and financial reasons. The Google arrangement catapults our effective digital output from the boutique scale to the truly industrial. Through this program and others like it, Stanford intends to promote learning and stimulate innovation."
-– Michael A. Keller, University Librarian.[4]

 University of Michigan


Notice about the project
The University of Michigan (and the University of Michigan Library) is an institutional participant in the project.[9]
"The project with Google is core to our mission as a great public university to advance knowledge — on campus and beyond. By joining this partnership that makes our library holdings searchable through Google, UM serves as an agent in an initiative that radically increases the availability of information to the public. The University of Michigan embraces this project as a means to make information available as broadly and conveniently as possible. Moreover, the UM Library embarked on this ground-breaking partnership for a number of very compelling reasons:
  • "We believe that, beyond providing basic access to library collections, this activity is critically transformative, enabling the University Library to build on and re-conceive vital library services for the new millennium.
  • "This work will create new ways for users to search and access library content, opening up our collections to our own users and to users throughout the world.
  • "Although we have engaged in large-scale, preservation-based conversion of materials in the Library's collection for several years, and have been a leader in digital preservation efforts among research libraries, we know that only through partnerships of this sort can conversion of this scale be achieved. Our program is strong, and we have been able to digitize approximately 5,000 volumes/year; nevertheless, at this rate, it would take us more than a thousand years to digitize our entire collection."
-– John P. Wilkin, Associate University Librarian.[4]

University of Oxford

University of Oxford is an institutional participant in this project.[10] Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and its historic Bodleian Library is the oldest university library.
"The Bodleian Library's mission, from its founding in 1602, has been based on Sir Thomas Bodley's vision of a library serving the worldwide 'Republic of Letters', with the Library's collections open to all who have need to use them. To this day over 60% of readers who use and work in the Bodleian Library have no direct affiliation with the University of Oxford . The Google Library Project in Oxford testifies to our ongoing commitment to enable and facilitate access to our content for the scholarly community and beyond. The initiative will carry forward Sir Thomas Bodley's vision and the ethos of the Bodleian Library into the digital age, allowing readers from around the world to access the Library's collections over the World Wide Web."
-– Ronald Milne, former Director of Oxford University Library & Bodleian Librarian.[4]

 Additional Project Partners

Other institutional partners have joined the Project in the years since the partnership was first announced.

 Bavarian State Library

The Bavarian State Library (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek or BSB) is an institutional participant in the project.[11]
"With today's announcement we are opening our library to the world and bringing the true purpose of libraries — the discovery of books and knowledge — a decisive step further in into the digital era. This is an exciting effort to help readers around the world discover and access Germany's rich literary tradition online — whenever and wherever they want."
— Dr. Rolf Griebel, Director General of the Bavarian State Library.[4]

 Columbia University

Columbia University (and Columbia University Library System) is an institutional participant in the project.[4]
"Our participation in the Google Book Search Library Project will add significantly to the extensive digital resources the Libraries already deliver," said James Neal, Columbia's vice president for information services and university librarian. "It will enable the Libraries to make available more significant portions of its extraordinary archival and special collections to scholars and researchers worldwide in ways that will ultimately change the nature of scholarship."
James G. Neal, University Librarian and Vice-President for Information Services at Columbia University.[4]

 Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC)

The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is an institutional participant in the project.[12] The CIC developed in the late 1950s from a cautious exploration of the ways in which 11 major universities — two private and nine state-supported — might pool their resources for the common good. Today the CIC is an active participant in the Google Books Library Project, which becomes something of a logical extension of the initial working relationships forged a half century ago amongst Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago.
The CIC is guided by the Provosts of the member universities; and the CIC Digital Library Initiatives Overview Committee monitors the digitization and dissemination of books in the CIC collections.[13]
"This partnership with Google is one of the most ambitious undertakings in the history of the CIC, and sets the stage for a remarkable transformation of library services and information access. We're opening up these resources as both a common good shared among the universities, as well as a public good available more broadly. "
Barbara McFadden Allen, Director of the CIC.[4]

 Complutense University of Madrid

The Complutense University of Madrid (Universidad Complutense) is an institutional participant in the project.[14]
"Out-of-copyright books previously only available to people with access to the University Complutense of Madrid's Library, or the money to travel, will now be accessible to everyone with an Internet connection, wherever they live. We are quite literally opening our library to the world. The opportunities for education are phenomenal and we are delighted to be working with Google on this project."
Carlos Berzosa, Chancellor.[4]

 Cornell University

Cornell University (and Cornell University Library) is an institutional participant in the project.[15]
"Research libraries today are integral partners in the academic enterprise through their support of research, teaching and learning. They also serve a public good by enhancing access to the works of the world's best minds. As a major research library, Cornell University Library is pleased to join its peer institutions in this partnership with Google. The outcome of this relationship is a significant reduction in the time and effort associated with providing scholarly full-text resources online."
Ann R. Kenney, Interim Cornell University Librarian.[4]

 Ghent University Library

Ghent University (and Boekentoren/Ghent University Library) is an institutional participant in the project.[16]
'We are thrilled to open our books and our library to the world through this project. This is an exciting effort to help readers — no matter where they are — discover and access part of Belgium and Europe's rich literary tradition and culture. In addition, we are about to start a multi-year project to renovate our library building, and while our library's doors will be closed, its books will remain open to students and academics through Google Book Search."
Sylvia Van Peteghem, Chief Librarian, Ghent University Library.[4]

 Keio University

Keio University (and Keio Media Centers (Libraries)) is an institutional participant in the project.[17]
"The Google project allows us to make our collections visible worldwide, so that our books will contribute to research and education on a global scale. Our university was founded in 1858 by Yukichi Fukuzawa, who was well known for his commitment to bringing information and media forward in modern Japan. This makes Keio ideally suited to be the first Japanese library to participate in Google Book Search."
— Professor S. Sugiyama, Director, Keio University Library.[4]

National Library of Catalonia

The National Library of Catalonia (Biblioteca de Catalunya) is an institutional participant in the project.[18]
"It once was the case that only those who could visit our library were able to 'visit' our books. Now, anyone interested in the vast number of titles our library houses will be able to find and access them online–or perhaps just discover them by chance via a simple search of the Google Book Search index. This is a tremendous step forward for enabling readers all around the world to discover and access the rich history of Catalonian, Castilian, and Latin American literature."
-- Dolors Lamarca, Director of the National Library of Barcelona.[4]

 Princeton University

Princeton University (and Princeton University Library) is an institutional participant in the project.[19]
"Generations of Princeton librarians have devoted themselves to building a remarkable collection of books in thousands of subjects and dozens of languages. Having the portion of that collection not covered by copyright available online will make it easier for Princeton students and faculty to do research, and joining the Google partnership allows us to share our collection with researchers worldwide, a step very much in keeping with the University's unofficial motto of Princeton in the nation's service and in the service of all nations."
Karin Trainer, Princeton University Librarian.[4]

 University of California

The University of California is an institutional participant in the project.[20]
"By unlocking the wealth of information maintained within our libraries and exposing it to the latest that search technologies have to offer, the University of California is continuing its work to harness technology and our library collections in support of research, learning, patient care, and cultural engagement. In this new world, people will make connections between information and ideas that were hitherto inaccessible, driving the pace of innovation in all areas of life – academic, economic, and civic – and enhancing the use of the world's great libraries.
"With digital copies of our library holdings, we will also provide a safeguard for the countless thousands of authors, publishers, and readers who would be devastated by catastrophic loss occasioned, for example, by natural disaster. Anyone who doubts the impact that such disaster can have on our cultural memory need look no further than the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina on our sister libraries in the Gulf States.
"As an institution that has built these vast collections as a public good and in the public trust, joining the Google library partnership was the right thing to do."
Daniel Greenstein, Associate Vice Provost for Scholarly Information and University Librarian.[4]

University Library of Lausanne

The University of Lausanne (and the Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne) is an institutional participant in the project.[21]
"Out of copyright books previously only available to people with access to Lausanne's university library, will now be accessible to everyone with an Internet connection, wherever they live. We are quite literally opening our library to the world. The opportunities for education are phenomenal and we are delighted to be working with Google on this project".
Hubert A. Villard, Director of the Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne.[4]

 University of Mysore

The University of Mysore (and the Mysore University Library) is an institutional participant in the project.[22]

 University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin (and the University of Texas Libraries) is an institutional participant in this project.[23]
"University libraries in our society are entrusted with the critical mission of collecting and providing access to information spanning the entire range of human knowledge. Our libraries are also responsible for effectively preserving this knowledge and ensuring access to it over vast periods of time. At the University of Texas at Austin, we hold a deep commitment to each of these objectives and believe that participating in this venture will help ensure our ability to meet those commitments far into the future."
Fred Heath, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries.[4]

 University of Virginia

The University of Virginia (and the University of Virginia Library) is an institutional participant in this project.[24]
"The U.Va. Library was a pioneer in digitizing public domain materials. We started with printed texts in 1992, and faculty and students quickly discovered that long-forgotten and out-of-print texts could reach new audiences and spark new scholarship. We have often talked about libraries without walls, but now we are even closer to realizing that vision, thanks to this partnership."
Karin Wittenborg, University Librarian, University of Virginia.[4]

 University of Wisconsin–Madison

The University of Wisconsin–Madison (and the University of Wisconsin Digital Collection) is an institutional participant in this project.[25]
"The combined library collections of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society Library comprise one of the largest collections of documents and historical materials in the United States. Through this landmark partnership with Google, Wisconsin is taking a leading role in preserving public domain works for future generations and making the Library's resources widely available for education and research. This effort truly exemplifies the vision of The Wisconsin Idea—the notion that the boundaries of the university are limitless. The Wisconsin libraries have been following in this tradition. The Google digitization efforts will enable the libraries to expand access to public domain materials that have heretofore only been accessible in the libraries. Much of this material is rare and one-of-a-kind, providing a rich, open source of information for educational, research and general public use."
Edward Van Gemert, Interim Director, UW–Madison Libraries.[4]

 See also

 Notes

 References

 External links

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Body Canvas

Let no one destitute of geometry enter my doors."

Who would have known about the distinction I had thought only myself could bare the artistic rendition of a thought processes that had unfurled in my own expressive way many others had expressed. Yes I had seen students of science with qualitative formulas tattooed over their body....but it becomes personal when you hold the idea of the Body  Canvas to iterate something you believe in. So, for the rest of your life?

In 2007, Carl Zimmer posed a question on his blog: are scientists hiding tattoos of their science? It turned out that many of them were, and they were willing to share their ink with him and the world. Zimmer has posted hundreds of these images in the years since.  In Science Ink, he assembles his favorite images from his blog, along with previously unpublished ones, and writes about the science behind the pictures, and the scientists behind the science. From archaeology to astronomy, from neuroscience to chemistry, Science Ink is a guide to the universe, illustrated on the bodies of scientists. See: Carl Zimmer on Science Ink
See Also: Science Tattoo Emporium

So for me it didn't matter anymore,  but then I thought how can one remain in anonymity if one helps to identify it's owner(have I really released previous convictions)? So tattooing for me was more about the way in which your tattoo is depicted,  then on how beautiful designs can be relabeled, or new ones drawn and located on. The story for me is truly fascinating and I found it so for those not knowing.


Carl Zimmer



Carl Zimmer
Carl Zimmer (born 1966) is a popular science writer and blogger, especially regarding the study of evolution and parasites. He has written several books and contributes science essays to publications such as The New York Times and Discover. He is a Fellow at Yale University's Morse College.

Contents

Career

Besides his popular science writing, Zimmer also gives frequent lectures, and has been on many radio shows, including National Public Radio's Fresh Air and This American Life. His most recent award was a 2007 prize for science communication[1] from the United States National Academy of Sciences, for his wide-ranging and fascinating coverage of biology and evolution in newspapers, magazines and his internet blog "The Loom". Since 11 November 2009 (episode 35) he is host of the periodic audio podcast Meet the Scientist of the American Society for Microbiology (replacing Merry Buckley).
Zimmer received his B.A. in English from Yale University in 1987, and began freelance writing for Natural History magazine. In 1989, Zimmer started at Discover magazine, first as a copy editor and fact checker, eventually becoming a contributing editor.[2]


Saturday, March 05, 2011

Novum Organum

The frontispiece of Novum Organum by Francis Bacon



The Novum Organum is a philosophical work by Francis Bacon published in 1620. The title translates as "new instrument". This is a reference to Aristotle's work Organon, which was his treatise on logic and syllogism. In Novum Organum, Bacon details a new system of logic he believes to be superior to the old ways of syllogism. This is now known as the Baconian method.

For Bacon, finding the essence of a thing was a simple process of reduction, and the use of inductive reasoning. In finding the cause of a phenomenal nature such as heat, one must list all of the situations where heat is found. Then another list should be drawn up, listing situations that are similar to those of the first list except for the lack of heat. A third table lists situations where heat can vary. The form nature, or cause, of heat must be that which is common to all instances in the first table, is lacking from all instances of the second table and varies by degree in instances of the third table.

The title page of Novum Organum depicts a galleon passing between the mythical Pillars of Hercules that stand either side of the Strait of Gibraltar, marking the exit from the well-charted waters of the Mediterranean into the Atlantic Ocean. The Pillars, as the boundary of the Mediterranean, have been smashed through opening a new world to exploration. Bacon hopes that empirical investigation will, similarly, smash the old scientific ideas and lead to greater understanding of the world and heavens.

The Latin tag across the bottom is taken from the Book of Daniel 12:4. It means: "Many will travel and knowledge will be increased".

Contents

Bacon and the Scientific Method

Many argue that Bacon's work was instrumental in the historical development of the scientific method. Association of Bacon's name and the modern conception of the scientific method is, however, to be treated with caution. No where in Novum Organum does Bacon even use the word "method" to describe his prescription for the exercise of natural philosophy.[1] That being said, it is undeniable that his technique bears a resemblance to the modern formulation of the scientific method in the sense that it is centered on experimental research. Bacon's emphasis on the use of artificial experiments to provide additional observances of a phenomena can often support the conclusion that Bacon's process and the scientific method are one, but Bacon himself should not be considered "the Father of the Experimental Philosophy (such expressions are egregiously outmoded)..." [1]

Preface

Bacon begins the work with a rejection of pure a priori deduction for the uses of discovering truth in natural philosophy. Of his philosophy, he states:

"Now my plan is as easy to describe as it is difficult to effect. For it is to establish degrees of certainty, take care of the sense by a kind of reduction, but to reject for the most part the work of the mind that follows upon sense; in fact I mean to open up and lay down a new and certain pathway from the perceptions of the senses themselves to the mind."

The emphasis on beginning with observation pervades the entire work. In fact, it is in the concept that the natural philosophy must begin from the senses that we find a revolutionary quality of Bacon’s philosophy, and its consequent philosophical method, eliminative induction, is one of Bacon's most lasting contributions to science and philosophy.

Instauratio Magna

Novum organum was actually published as part of a much larger work, Instauratio magna. Originally intending Instauratio magna to contain six parts (of which Novum organum constituted the second), Bacon did not come close to completing his metawork, as parts V and VI were never written at all. Novum organum, written in Latin and consisting of two books of aphorisms, was included in the volume that Bacon published in 1620; however, it was also unfinished, as Bacon promised several additions to its content which ultimately remained unprinted.

Book I

(Bacon titled this first book Aphorisms Concerning the Interpretation of Nature, and the Kingdom of Man)

In the first book of aphorisms, Bacon criticizes the current state of natural philosophy. The object of his assault consists largely in the syllogism, a method that he believes to be completely inadequate in comparison to what Bacon calls “true Induction:”

“The syllogism is made up of propositions, propositions of words, and words are markers of notions. Thus if the notions themselves (and this is the heart of the matter) are confused, and recklessly abstracted from things, nothing built on them is sound. The only hope therefore lies in true Induction.” (aph. 14)
In many of his aphorisms, Bacon reiterates the importance of inductive reasoning. Induction, methodologically opposed to deduction, entails beginning with particular cases observed by the senses and then attempting to discover the general axioms from those observations. In other words, induction presupposes nothing. Deduction, on the other hand, begins with general axioms, or first principles, by which the truth of particular cases is extrapolated. Bacon emphasizes the strength of the gradual process that is inherent in induction:
“There are and can only be two ways of investigating and discovering truth. The one rushes up from the sense and particulars to axioms of the highest generality and, from these principles and their indubitable truth, goes on to infer and discover middle axioms; and this is the way in current use. The other way draws axioms from the sense and particulars by climbing steadily and by degrees so that it reaches the ones of highest generality last of all; and this is the true but still untrodden way.” (aph. 19)

After many similar aphoristic reiterations of these important concepts, Bacon presents his famous Idols.

The Idols

Novum organum, as suggested by its name, is focused just as much on a rejection of received doctrine as it is on a forward-looking progression. In Bacon's Idols are found his most critical examination of man-made impediments which mislead the mind's objective reasoning. They appear in previous works but were never fully fleshed out until their formulation in Novum organum:
Idols of the Tribe

“Idols of the Tribe are rooted in human nature itself and in the very tribe or race of men. For people falsely claim that human sense is the measure of things, whereas in fact all perceptions of sense and mind are built to the scale of man and not the universe.” (aph. 41)

Bacon includes in this the idol the predilection of the human imagination to presuppose otherwise unsubstantiated regularities in nature. An example might be the common historical astronomical assumption that planets move in perfect circles.

Idols of the Cave

“Idols of the Cave belong to the particular individual. For everyone has (besides vagaries of human nature in general) his own special cave or den which scatters and discolours the light of nature. Now this comes either of his own unique and singular nature; or his education and association with others, or the books he reads and the several authorities of those whom he cultivates and admires, or the difference impressions as they meet in the soul, be the soul possessed and prejudiced, or steady and setteled, or the like; so that the human spirit (as it is allotted to particular individuals) is evidently a variable thing, all muddled, and so to speak a creature of chance...” (aph. 42)

This idol stems from the particular life experiences of the individual. Variable educations can lead the individual to a preference for specific concepts or methods, which then corrupt their subsequent philosophies. Bacon himself gives the example of Aristotle, “who made his natural philosophy a mere slave to his logic.” (Aph. 54)

Idols of the Market

“There are also Idols, derived as if from the mutual agreement and association of the human race, which I call Idols of the Market on account of men's commerce and partnerships. For men associate through conversation, but words are applied according to the capacity of ordinary people. Therefore shoddy and inept application of words lays siege to the intellect in wondrous ways.” (aph. 43)

Bacon considered these “the greatest nuisances of the lot” (aph. 59). Because humans reason through the use of words, they are particularly dangerous because the received definitions of words, which are often falsely derived, can cause confusion. He outlines two subsets of this kind of idol and provides examples (aph 60).

First, there are those words which spring from fallacious theories, such as the element of fire or the concept of a first mover. These are easy to dismantle because their inadequacy can be traced back to the fault of their derivation in a faulty theory. Second, there are those words that are the result of imprecise abstraction. Earth, for example, is a vague term that may include many different substances the commonality of which is questionable. These are terms are often used elliptically, or from a lack of information or definition of the term.

Idols of the Theatre

“Lastly, there are the Idols which have misguided into men's souls from the dogmas of the philosophers and misguided laws of demonstration as well; I call these Idols of the Theatre, for in my eyes the philsophies received and discovered are so many stories made up and acted out stories which have created sham worlds worth of the stage.” (aph. 44)

These idols manifest in the unwise acceptance of certain philosophical dogmas, namely Aristotle's sophistical natural philosophy (aph. 63) which was corrupt by his passion for logic, and Plato's superstitious philosophy, which relied too heavily on theological principles.

Book II

After enumerating the shortcomings of the current and past natural philosophies, Bacon can now present his own philosophy and methods. Bacon retains the Aristotelian causes, but redefines them in interesting ways. While traditionally the final cause was held as most important among the four ( material, formal, efficient, and final), Bacon claims that it is the least helpful and in some cases actually detrimental to the sciences(aph. 2). For Bacon, it is the formal cause which is both the most illusive and most valuable, although each of the causes provides certain practical devices. By forms and formal causes, Bacon means the universal laws of nature. To these Bacon attaches an almost occult like power:

“But he who knows forms grasps the unity of nature beneath the surface of materials which are very unlike. Thus is he able to identify and bring about things that have never been done before, things of the kind which neither the vicissitudes of nature, nor hard experimenting, nor pure accident could ever have actualised, or human thought dreamed of. And thus from the discovery of the forms flows true speculation and unrestricted operation” (aph. 3).

In this second book, Bacon offers an example of the process that of what he calls true induction. In this example, Bacon attempts to grasp the form of heat.

The first step he takes is the surveying of all known instances where the nature of heat appears to exist. To this compilation of observational data Bacon gives the name Table of Essence and Presence. The next table, the Table of Absence in Proximity, is essentially the opposite—a compilation of all the instances in which the nature of heat is not present. Because these are so numerous, Bacon enumerates only the most relevant cases. Lastly, Bacon attempts to categorize the instances of the nature of heat into various degrees of intensity in his Table of Degrees. The aim of this final table is to eliminate certain instances of heat which might be said to be the form of heat, and thus get closer to an approximation of the true form of heat. Such elimination occurs through comparison. For example, the observation that both a fire and boiling water are instances of heat allows us to exclude light as the true form of heat, because light is present in the case of the fire but not in the case of the boiling water. Through this comparative analysis, Bacon intends to eventually extrapolate the true from of heat, although it is clear that such a goal is only gradually approachable by degrees. Indeed, the hypothesis that is derived from this eliminative induction, which Bacon names The First Vintage, is only the starting point from which additional empirical evidence and experimental analysis can refine our conception of a formal cause.

The "Baconian method" does not end at the First Vintage. Bacon described numerous classes of Instances with Special Powers, cases in which the phenomena one is attempting to explain is particularly relevant. These instances, of which Bacon describes 27 in Novum Organum, aid and accelerate the process of induction. They are “labour-saving devices or shortcuts intended to accelerate or make more rigorous the search for forms by providing logical reinforcement to induction.” [1]

Aside from the First Vintage and the Instances with Special Powers, Bacon enumerates additional "aids to the intellect" which presumably are the next steps in his "method." In Aphorism 21 of Book II, Bacon lays out the subsequent series of steps in proper induction: including Supports to Induction, Rectification of Induction, Varying the Inquiry according to the Nature of the Subject, Natures with Special Powers, Ends of Inquiry, Bringing Things down to Practice, Preparatives to Inquiry, and Ascending and Descending Scale of Axioms. These additional aids, however, were never explained beyond their initial limited appearance in Novum Organum. It is likely that Bacon intended them to be included in later parts of Instauratio magna and simply never got to writing about them.

As mentioned above, this second book of Novum organum was far from complete and indeed was only a small part of a massive, also unfinished work, the Instauratio magna.

Bacon and Descartes

Bacon is often studied through a comparison to his contemporary René Descartes. Both thinkers were, in a sense, some of the first to question the philosophical authority of the ancient Greeks. Bacon and Descartes both believed that a critique of preexisting natural philosophy was necessary, but their respective critiques proposed radically different approaches to natural philosophy. While “one was rational and theoretical in approach and was headed by Rene Descartes; the other was practical and empirical and was led by Francis Bacon.” [2] They were both profoundly concerned with the extent to which human’s can come to knowledge, and yet their methods of doing so projected diverging paths.

On the one hand, Descartes’ begins with a doubt of anything which cannot be known with absolute certainty and includes in this realm of doubt the impressions of sense perception, and thus, “all sciences of corporal things, such as physics and astronomy." [2] He thus attempts to provide a metaphysical principle (this becomes the Cogito) which cannot be doubted, on which further truths must be deduced. In this method of deduction, the philosopher begins by examining the most general axioms (such as the Cogito), and then proceeds to determine the truth about particulars from an understanding of those general axioms.
Conversely, Bacon endorsed the opposite method of Induction, in which the particulars are first examined, and only then is there a gradual ascent to the most general axioms. While Descartes doubts the ability of the senses to provide us with accurate information, Bacon doubts the ability of the mind to deduce truths by itself as it is subjected to so many intellectual obfuscations, Bacon's “Idols.” In his first aphorism of New organum, Bacon states:

“Man, the servant and interpreter of nature, does and understands only as much as he has observed, by fact or mental activity, concerning the order of nature; beyond that he has neither knowledge nor power.” (aph. 1)

So, in a basic sense the central difference between the philosophical methods of Descartes and those of Bacon can be reduced to an argument between deductive and inductive reasoning and whether to trust or doubt the senses. However, there is another profound difference between the two thinkers' positions on the accessibility of Truth. Descartes was obsessed with absolute Truth—indeed it seems to be the object of his aims. It is slightly ambiguous whether Bacon believed such a Truth can be achieved. In his opening remarks, he proposes “to establish progressive stages of certainty.” For Bacon, a measure of truth was its power to allow predictions of natural phenomena (although Bacon's forms come close to what we might call "Truth," because they are universal, immutable laws of nature).

Original Contributions

An interesting characteristic of Bacon's apparently scientific tract was that, although he amassed an overwhelming body of empirical data, he did not make any original discoveries. Indeed, that was never his intention, and such an evaluation of Bacon's legacy may wrongfully lead to an unjust comparison with Newton. Bacon never claimed to have brilliantly revealed new unshakable truths about nature—in fact, he believed that such an endeavor is not the work of single minds but that of whole generations by gradual degrees toward reliable knowledge.[1]

In many ways, Bacon's contribution to the advancement of human knowledge lies not in the fruit of his scientific research but in the reinterpretation of the methods of natural philosophy. His undeniable innovation is best encapsulated in The Oxford Francis Bacon:

“Before Bacon where else does one find a meticulously articulated view of natural philosophy as an enterprise of instruments and experiment, and enterprise designed to restrain discursive reason and make good the defects of the senses? Where else in the literature before Bacon does one come across a stripped-down natural-historical programme of such enormous scope and scrupulous precision, and designed to serve as the basis for a complete reconstruction of human knowledge which would generate new, vastly productive sciences through a form o eliminative induction supported by various other procedures including deduction? Where else does one find a concept of scientific research which implies an institutional framework of such proportions that it required generations of permanent state funding to sustain it? And all this accompanied by a thorough, searching, and devastating attack on ancient and not-so-ancient philosophies, and by a provisional natural philosophy anticipating the results of the new philosophy?”[1]

External links

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Rees, Graham and Maria Wakely The Instauratio magna Part II: Novum organum and Associated Texts. Oxford: Clarendon, 2004. Print
  2. ^ a b Cantor, Norman F., and Peter L. Klein. Seventeenth-Century Rationalsim: Bacon and Descartes. Massachusetts: Blaisdell, 1969. Print
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In center, while Plato - with the philosophy of the ideas and theoretical models, he indicates the sky, Aristotle - considered the father of Science, with the philosophy of the forms and the observation of the nature indicates the Earth. Many historians of the Art in the face correspondence of Plato with Leonardo, Heraclitus with Miguel Angel, and Euclides with Twine agree.

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