Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bringing Home the Bacon

BrooklynDodger has quoted Bacon saying "Truth arises more readily from error than confusion." Aphoristically stated, a wrong paradigm can be tested and overturned by observations, but a collection of observations without a paradigm can't move forward. It's also an excuse to take a hard contrarian position against general doctrine. Kind of a wink to the audience... This is very important in occupational safety and health, where the received doctrine is mostly "blame the worker" and the audience is usually all management.

The Dodger thinks this quote was found in Kuhn, Structure of Scientific Revolutions. However, the Dodger has difficulty in finding the actual source of this quote. Bartlett's doesn't find it. So the Dodger went to google. Some internet sites aphorize without a reference to a source.

Some fiddling suggests the source is likely Novum Organum (1624). Figuring out which translation is which on the internet got discouraging. One document headed "New Organon" was searched with find/replace. Then the Dodger realized that whatever we are told Bacon said in English, he actually wrote it in Latin.

Anyway, the best the Dodger could do from an actual Bacon text was: "truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion."

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