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Francis Bacon New Studies Centenary Essays pp and SlideServe

As early as Temporis partus masculus, Bacon warns thestudent of empirical science not to tackle the complexities of hissubject without purging the mind of its idols:

In Redargutio Philosophiarum Bacon reflects on his method,but he also criticizes prejudices and false opinions, especially thesystem of speculation established by theologians, as an obstacle to theprogress of science (Farrington 1964, 107), together with anyauthoritarian stance in scholarly matters.

In Bacon's follow-up paper, RedargutioPhilosophiarum, he carries on his empiricist project by referringto the doctrine of twofold truth, while in De Principiis atqueOriginibus he rejects alchemical theories concerning thetransformation of substances in favor of Greek atomism. But in the sametext he sharply criticizes his contemporary Telesio for propagating anon-experimental halfway house empiricism. Though Telesio proves to bea moderate ‘modern’, he clings to the Aristotelianframework by continuing to believe in the quinta essentia andin the doctrine of the two worlds, which presupposes two modes ofnatural law (one mode for the sublunary and another for the superlunarysphere).

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Part 6 was scheduled to contain Bacon's description of the newphilosophy, as the last part of his Great Instauration; butnothing came of this plan, so that there is no extant text at all fromthis part of the project.

Works by Francis Bacon - Wikipedia

Induction implies ascending to axioms, as well as a descending toworks, so that from axioms new particulars are gained and from thesenew axioms. The inductive method starts from sensible experience andmoves via natural history (providing sense-data as guarantees) tolower axioms or propositions, which are derived from the tables ofpresentation or from the abstraction of notions. Bacon does notidentify experience with everyday experience, but presupposes thatmethod corrects and extends sense-data into facts, which go togetherwith his setting up of tables (tables of presence and of absence andtables of comparison or of degrees, i.e., degrees of absence orpresence). “Bacon's antipathy to simple enumeration as theuniversal method of science derived, first of all, from his preferencefor theories that deal with interior physical causes, which are notimmediately observable” (Urbach 1987, 30; see: sect. 2). Thelast type can be supplemented by tables of counter-instances, whichmay suggest experiments:

Bacon, Francis | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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With regard to Bacon's Two Books—the Book of God andthe Book of Nature—one has to keep in mind that man, when givenfree access to the Book of Nature, should not content himself withmerely reading it. He also has to find out the names by which thingsare called. If man does so, not only will he be restored to his statusa noble and powerful being, but the Book of God will also loseimportance, from a traditional point of view, in comparison to the Bookof Nature. This is what Blumenberg referred to as the “asymmetryof readability” (Blumenberg 1981, 86–107). But the processof reading is an open-ended activity, so that new knowledge and theexpansion of the system of disciplines can no longer be restricted byconcepts such as the completeness and eternity of knowledge (Klein2004a, 73).

Sir Francis Bacon > By Individual Philosopher > …

In Bacon's thought we encounter a relation between science andsocial philosophy, since his ideas concerning a utopian transformationof society presuppose an integration into the social framework of hisprogram concerning natural philosophy and technology as the two formsof the maker's knowledge. From his point of view, which wasinfluenced by Puritan conceptions, early modern society has to makesure that losses caused by the Fall are compensated for, primarily byman's enlargement of knowledge, providing the preconditions for anew form of society which combines scientia nova andthe millennium, according to the prophecy of Daniel 12:4 (Hill 1971,85–130). Science as a social endeavor is seen as a collectiveproject for the improvement of social structures. On the other hand, astrong collective spirit in society may function as a conditio sinequa non for reforming natural philosophy. Bacon's famousargument that it is wise not to confound the Book of Nature with theBook of God comes into focus, since the latter deals with God'swill (inscrutable for man) and the former with God's work, thescientific explanation or appreciation of which is a form of Christiandivine service. Successful operations in natural philosophy andtechnology help to improve the human lot in a way which makes thehardships of life after the Fall obsolete. It is important to note thatBacon's idea of a—to a certain extent—Christiansociety by no means conveys Christian pessimism in the vein ofpatristic thinkers but rather displays a clear optimism as the resultof compounding the problem of truth with the scope of human freedom andsovereignty (Brandt 1979, 21).


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There are and can be only two ways of searching intoand discovering truth. The one flies from the senses and particularsto the most general axioms, and from these principles, the truth ofwhich it takes for settled and immovable, proceeds to judgment and tothe discovery of middle axioms. And this way is now in fashion. Theother derives axioms from the senses and particulars, rising by agradual and unbroken ascent, so that it arrives at the most generalaxioms at last. This is the true way, but as yet untried. (Bacon IV[1901], 50: Novum Organum, I, Aphorism XIX).

“Francis Bacon: Late Paintings” | Art in New York

Bacon argues against “anticipation of nature”, which heregards as a conservative method, leading to theories that recapitulatethe data without producing new ones conducive to the growth ofknowledge. Moreover, such theories are considered to be final, so thatthey are never replaced.

Francis Bacon - The New Atlantis

The sequence of methodical steps does not, however, end here,because Bacon assumes that from lower axioms more general ones can bederived (by induction). The complete process must be understood as thejoining of the parts into a systematic chain. From the more generalaxioms Bacon strives to reach more fundamental laws of nature(knowledge of forms), which lead to practical deductions as newexperiments or works (IV, 24–5). The decisive instruments in thisprocess are the middle or ‘living axioms,’ which mediatebetween particulars and general axioms. For Bacon, induction can onlybe efficient if it is eliminative by exclusion, which goes beyond theremit of induction by simple enumeration. The inductive method helpsthe human mind to find a way to ascertain truthful knowledge.