Read The Great Books

A Curated Guide for Autodidacts

Novum Organum (New Organon)

by Francis Bacon

Written by Sir Francis Bacon, Novum Organum is a text looking to the workings of the natural world.

One of the foundational pieces of the scientific method, this book is something definitely interesting to those with scientific interests. Some of the natural phenomena Bacon goes into is the creation of heat, idolatry, and the subject of human’s in groups and the dynamics of such. One of the things that makes this piece so interesting is Bacon’s focus on answering questions by removing possible answers, much like he modern scientific method.

Oxford Classic’s edition is one to look at. It offers a favorable translation and is easy to get ahold of. Unfortunately it has a few drawbacks. The notes involved in this text are extensive to a fault. Normally speaking the more notations the better but this is really a case of overdoing it. Many of the notations don’t seem to have much weigh to them and especially for those new to the content it can really bog them down. A slightly better option is that of the Cambridge Texts edition. Although it has sort of the opposite problem. While good for those new to the ideals talked about in the text, most others will find the text rather watered down. It is to the point where some begin to question if there isn’t being something left out when simplified to this extent. The best option is that of Hackett’s. It balances the line between too much and too little quite well. It is easily readable but doesn’t skimp on details or notations, while at the same time it isn’t overly done.