Reading Questions for 9/4: Bacon and Galileo

For Friday 9/4, read the texts from Francis Bacon’s New Organon and from Galileo’s The Assayer in Modern Philosophy (pp.16-24)Be prepared to answer the following questions:


  1. What are the “two ways of searching into and discovering the truth” that Bacon discusses?
    • How are ‘general axioms’ involved in each?
    • How are the senses involved in each?
    • What does each deliver as far as “conclusions of human reasoning… applied in matters of nature”?
    • Which method does Bacon suggest we adopt?
  2.  What are the “idols and false notions which are now in possession of the human understanding”?
    • What are their negative effects?
    • What are the classes into which Bacon divides them?
    • How do they come to be so ingrained in our thinking?


  1. What proposition is Galileo attempting to establish in this part of his essay?
  2. What is the allegedly false view of the matter that he is arguing against?
  3. What does he claim that he has to conceive whenever he is conceiving of any corporeal body?
  4. What does he claim that he does not have to conceive in doing this?
  5. What explanation does he give for the differences in these conceptions?

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