Saturday, April 22, 2017

Roger Bacon talks about experiments

Roger Bacon (1219-1292) is an influential philosopher and friar best known for his analysis of the scientific method. Historian Henry Hallam says,
The mind of Roger Bacon was strangely compounded of almost prophetic gleams of the future course of science, and the best principles of the inductive philosophy, with a more than usual credulity in the superstitions of his own time. (Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the Fifteenth, 1866)
This post is a collection of quotes from Bacon regarding the scientific method.

Support for experiments

"The strongest argument proves nothing so long as the conclusions are not verified by experience. Experimental science is the queen of sciences, and the goal of all speculation." (Quoted in Science at the Medieval Universities by James J. Walsch)

"Argument is conclusive... but... it does not remove doubt, so that the mind may never rest in the sure knowledge of the truth, unless it finds it by the method of experiment. For if any man who never saw fire proved by satisfactory arguments that fire burns, his hearer's mind would never be satisfied, nor would he avoid the fire until he put his hand in it that he might learn by experiment what argument taught." (Quoted in Memorable Quotations by Carol A. Dingle)

"To ask the proper question is half of knowing." (Quoted in Life, Sept 8, 1958)

Support for mathematics

"Mathematics is the gate and key of the sciences... Neglect of mathematics works injury to all knowledge, since he who is ignorant of it cannot know the other sciences or the things of this world. And what is worse, men who are thus Ignorant are unable to perceive their own ignorance and so do not seek a remedy." (Quoted in Mathematics and the physical world by Morris Kline)

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