Francis Bacon

“Franicis Bacon (1561-1626) followed Machiavelli’s idea of conquering and controlling nature “for the relief of man’s estate.” He had a plan for the total reorganization and development of human knowledge. His chief concern was with the method for acquiring knowledge and for using it to increase human dignity and greatness, which he presented in The Great Insatauration (first part on Advancement of Learning and second part called Novum Organum) [Insatauration=restoration]. His restoration of mankind to “dominion over the universe” was to be based on “pure and uncorrupted natural knowledge” and not on moral or religious knowledge. The Novum Organum calls the four great impediments to learning (1) the Idols of the Tribe (distortions of sense perception to which all are subject), (2) Idols of the Cave (personal limitations and prejudices of individuals), (3) Idols of the Market Place (i.e. of misleading communications with others on account of the misleadingness of words), (4) Idols of the Theater (i.e. of dogmas, systems, and theories). To advert these he proposed the inductive method of deriving general laws (“simple natures” that are like an “alphabet of nature”) or principles from a number of particular instances (a posteriori). His methodical strategy intended for human beings to obey the laws of nature in order to conquer it (parendo vincere); the end of science is “the invention of principles to command nature in action” (Frederick Lawrence, Philosophers and Theologians, Boston College).

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