(un)common ground

a commonplace book

Reading to Weigh and Consider

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.

Sir Francis Bacon, “Of Studies” (1625)

It shouldn’t be misconstrued that Bacon means not to read in order to confute external arguments; rather, taken with the second clause, Bacon means that one shouldn’t read from the primary motivation of contradicting or confuting the material being read. Such intentions from the outset will stifle your understanding of it; but on the other hand, don’t just take everything at its word. Rather, read a text on its own terms first–weigh and consider it. If it gives you pause or incites questions–investigate them.


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This entry was posted on July 29, 2015 by and tagged , .
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