Francis Bacon《Of Studies》

Of Studies

-Francis Bacon

Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment, and disposition of business. For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best, from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need proyning, by study; and studies themselves, do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books, else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit: and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know, that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtile; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. Abeunt studia in mores. Nay, there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies; like as diseases of the body, may have appropriate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone and reins; shooting for the lungs and breast; gentle walking for the stomach; riding for the head; and the like. So if a man’s wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again. If his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the Schoolmen; for they are cymini sectores. If he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study 197 the lawyers’ cases. So every defect of the mind, may have a special receipt.







弗兰西斯·培根,第一代圣阿尔本子爵(Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban,1561年1月22日-1626年4月9日),英国散文作家、法学家、哲学家、政治家、科学家,是古典经验论的始祖。1561年1月22日,弗兰西斯·培根出生于伦敦一个高级官员家庭。他的父亲尼古拉·培根爵士(Sir Nicholas Bacon)是伊丽莎白女王的掌玺大臣。培根是父亲第二位妻子的最小的儿子。他的母亲是文艺复兴时代的一个博学多才的贵族妇女,她的妹夫是伊丽莎白女王的重臣伯利勋爵。有了这种家庭背景和社会关系,再加上才华出众,培根很早就有了出入宫廷的机会。早在孩提时代,他就被伊丽莎白女王称为“我的小掌玺大臣”。雄心勃勃的培根很希望得到一条谋取功名利禄的捷径,立志以后为官。他十二岁入读剑桥大学三一学院,攻读神学、形而上学,同时学习逻辑、数学、天文学,希腊文和拉丁文。他对当时大学的教育体制和组在学术研究的亚里士多德的哲学体系十分反感。他在1576年从剑桥大学毕业,他与英国驻法国大使一道,前往巴黎,他在那儿担任英国驻法使馆的外交事务秘书,并在巴黎学习统计学和外交。1579年因父病逝辞职回英国。1593年,他当选为下议院议员,1617年,出任掌玺大臣,1618年,他担任詹姆斯一世手下的大法官(Lord Chancellor),并被授予维鲁拉姆男爵的称号,1621年晋爵为圣阿尔本子爵。晚年因国王受贿案而被判有罪,但是得到了国王的赦免后。闭门著书,虽生活颇为凄凉,却在学术上卓有成就,于一个寒冷的风雪中做用白雪保存食物(当时购买了一只鸡)实验中而感染风寒一病不起然后去世,死于1626年4月9日。more