University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
History of Science and Technology

Page View

Hooke, Robert, 1635-1703 / Micrographia: or some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses : with observations and inquiries thereupon
(MDCLXVII [1667])

The preface

                 The PR EF ACE.
 many particulars mitch outdone by thofe of other Creatures, and when
 at befi,to be far J7bort of the perfe~iion they feem catpable of.: And thefe
 infirmities of the Senfes arife from a double caufe, either from the dif-
 proportion of the Objed to the Organwhereby an infinite number of
 things can never enter into them,or ele from error in the Perception,
 that many things, which come within their reach, are not received in a
 right manner.
    The likefrailties are to be foundin the Memory ; we often let many
 things flip away from us, which deferve to be retain'd; and of thofe
 which we treafure, a greatpart i& either frivolous orfalfe; and if
 good, and /ubflantial, either in traCT of time obliterated, or at befi fo
 overwhelmed and buried under more frothy notions, that when there i
 need of themr, they are in vain foughtfor.
    The two main foundations being fo deceivable, it is no 7wonder, that
 all the fucceeding works which we build upoui themiof arguing, conclu-
 dingdefiningFjuaging, and all the other degrees of Reafon, are lyable to
 the fame imperfeif ion, being, at befi, either vain, or uncertain: So that
 the errors of the underItanding are an/werable to the two other, being
 defetiive both in the quantity andgoodnefis of its knowledge; for the li-
 mits, to which our thoughts are confi nd, are finall in reffet of the vafi
 extent of Nature it fetf; fome parts of it are too large to be comprehen-
 ded, and fome too little to beperceived. And from thence it muf fol-
 low,that not having a full fenfation of the Objei, we muft be very lame
 and imperfef in our conceptions about it, andin all thepropofitions
 which we build upon it; hence we often take the fbadow of things for
 the fubifance, fmall appearances forgood fimilitudes, fimilimudes
 for definitions; andeven many of thofe, which we think to be the mofi
 folid definitions, are rather expre/fions afour own miguided apprehen
Jions then of the true nature of the things themnfelves.
  7Te ejferis of tbefe iperfeiions are manikfiedin different waysac-
cording to the temtper and diffofition of the feveral minds of men, fime
they incline to grofs ignorance andfiupidity, andothers to a pre-
fumptuous impofing on other mens Opinions, anda confident dog-
matizing on matters, whereof there is no affurance to be given.

Go up to Top of Page