Bacon suggests that certain "idols" or faulty sense perceptions may "hinder man's quest for establishing reliable and valid conclusions" (Golden et al. 1992: 105). The idols, therefore, work as barriers to knowledge. The four idols given by Bacon are described below:

 

i) IDOLS OF THE TRIBE- refers to the inherent limitations in the general nature of humans. Our tendency to be obsessive, restless, and excessively emotional may blur our sense messages.

 

ii) IDOLS OF THE CAVE- refers to the unique qualities and experiences of individual humans and how they affect our understanding. "One's basic personality, intellectual capacity, educational training, occupation, or value system may serve as a cave or den of his own." (Golden et al. 1992: 105-106).

 

iii) IDOLS OF THE MARKET PLACE- refers to a person's association with other people. In interaction, the erroneous choice of words may lead to an obstruction of understanding.

 

iv) IDOLS OF THE THEATRE- refers to untested information. Information that has not undergone extensive testing and criticism is merely a subjective creation.

For more detail on Bacon's Idea of the  4 Idols see this page