Francis Bacon's memory system

Hi everyone,

Can someone direct me to where Sir Francis Bacon explained his memory system?

I have only read that it was located in The Advancement of Learning.


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Memory is mentioned throughout, but the main focus seems to be in the Fifth Book, Chapter 5. You can easily search the document to find what you want, though. The text is available for free online in a variety of formats, including HTML, PDF, and Kindle.

I haven’t scoured the entire document, but I think you may be disappointed. Of course, I could have missed something, but it doesn’t bode well when he starts his section on memory by declaring, “The help for the memory is writing; and we must observe, that the memory, without this assistance, is unequal to things of length and accuracy, and ought not otherwise to be trusted.”


OK Bob,

Chapter 5 is about it! I’m not sure who said that Bacon had his own memory system but it’s not explained in The Advancement of Learning.


Hi again Bob,

Chapter 5…3 pages long…Makes mincemeat out of memory palaces and such, as I suspected.

More research to do in his book.

Hi Bob and Thank you!

I think whenever we read a document on memory training, the context is important.

I know that Bacon lived after Ramus and Bruno so his understanding of memory might have been “tainted” by the time when a ridiculous amount of memory treatises were promulgated in Europe (The Continent that is.) Not only that but Ramus along with Erasmus actively nixed the use of memory palaces and pegs using Images! They used the written page and utilized brackets and parentheses and other constructs of a mathematical type of extrapolation, contain & connect things, moving from Generals to Particulars and vice versa.

I will examine the 5th book, Chapter 5 and see.

Thanks again,