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Valerius Terminus; of the interpretation of nature by Francis Bacon;Robert Leslie Ellis;Gisela Engel
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Valerius Terminus: of the Interpretation of Nature

by Francis Bacon




Preface by Robert Leslie Ellis

The following fragments of a great work on the Interpretation of
Nature were first published in Stephens's Letters and Remains [1734].
They consist partly of detached passages, and partly of an epitome
of twelve chapters of the first book of the proposed work. The
detached passages contain the first, sixth, and eighth chapters, and
portions of the fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and
sixteenth. The epitome contains an account of the contents of all
the chapters from the twelfth to the twenty-sixth inclusive, omitting
the twentieth, twentythird, and twenty-fourth. Thus the sixteenth
chapter is mentioned both in the epitome and among the detached
passages, and we are thus enabled to see that the two portions of the
following tract belong to the same work, as it appears from both that
the sixteenth chapter was to treat of the doctrine of idola.

It is impossible to ascertain the motive which determined Bacon to
give to the supposed author the name of Valerius Terminus, or to his
commentator, of whose annotations we have no remains, that of Hermes
Stella. It may be conjectured that by the name Terminus he intended
to intimate that the new philosophy would put an end to the wandering
of mankind in search of truth, that it would be the TERMINUS AD QUEM
in which when it was once attained the mind would finally acquiesce.