If Francis Bacon and the Dewey Decimal System Got Into a Fight

Melvil DeweyFrancis BaconIn 1876, Melvil Dewey attempted to organize all knowledge into 10 main classes. The byproduct of his organization was the Dewey Decimal System, which is still flourishing today.

271 years earlier, Sir Francis Bacon had created a simpler taxonomy for all knowledge. It was adopted by Diderot and d’Alembert in Encyclopedie, and later by Thomas Jefferson. Bacon’s system consisted only of three classes: Memory, Reason, and Imagination.

Look over your bookshelf tonight. Do the books fit into Bacon’s taxonomy? What changes when you look at the books through this lense?

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