Half Baconed Arguments

Roger Bacon, Opus Maius 1.1:

There are four exceptionally great obstacles to comprehending the truth, which impede every wise person, and hardly allow anyone to arrive at a true claim to wisdom. These are, to wit, the example of fragile and unworthy authority, the endurance of custom, the perception of the inexperienced mob, and the hiding of one’s own ignorance with a display of apparent wisdom. Every person is involved with these, every station of life is occupied by them. Indeed, anyone you meet in their particular arts of life and study and every kind of business uses the three worst arguments for the same conclusion: ‘this was exemplified by our ancestors,’ ‘this is customary,’ and ‘this has become common, and therefore should be maintained.’

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Quatuor vero sunt maxima comprehendendae veritatis offendicula, quae omnem quemcumque sapientem impediunt, et vix aliquem permittunt ad verum titulum sapientiae pervenire: videlicet fragilis et indignae auctoritatis exemplum, consuetudinis diuturnitas, vulgi sensus imperiti, et propriae ignorantiae occultatio cum ostentatione sapientiae apparentis. His omnis homo involvitur, omnis status occupatur. Nam quilibet in singulis artibus vitae et studii et omnis negotii tribus pessimis ad eandem conclusionem utitur argumentis, scilicet, hoc exemplificatum est per maiores, hoc consuetum est, hoc vulgatum est; ergo tenendum. Sed oppositum conclusionis longe melius sequitur ex praemissis, sicut per auctoritatem et experientiam et rationem multipliciter probabo.

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