Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Francis Bacon- "The Prophet of Modern Science". Section 9

Francis Bacon was a well-rounded man with a diverse line of skills and aspirations. He was a natural philosopher who took great strides as a leader. He was a 17th century English philosopher who introduced the empirical method during the Scientific Revolution, thus outlining this method in his work The Advancement of Learning, a two-part work. Earlier in his career, he established that “knowledge is power”, and this was his province that led to him restructuring the value of “traditional learning”. Knowledge is power strikes me with so much meaning. It is true. Your future and your life is in part structured by what you know. The more you know and how well you know it, the greater things you can achieve. I don’t want to harp on that too much because that will be the basis for the Installment to follow. In order to further this new style, he created a new system which was based on empirical and inductive principles along with the development of arts- a system with a goal to produce practical knowledge for the sole benefit of man using this. The inductive principles being a stance argued upon from a selection of observations to arrive at a more generalized conclusion- like we discussed in class. He was concerned with the conditions that mankind was adhering to, so this new system was to relieve the previous constraints.


Francis grew up in a context that was determined by the power of politics, the value of humanist learning and a Calvinist zeal. Around 1573, Bacon visited Trinity College, Cambridge where he drew much criticism to the methods of academic training. In 1576, he began his studies at the Gray’s Inn in London, and nearly a year later went with an English ambassador, Sir Amias Paulet, on a mission to Paris. Here, Bacon was given valuable political instructions which pushed him to study civil law while completing diplomatic tasks (e.g. delivering diplomatic letters to England for Queen Elizabeth. Just imagine the prestige that Bacon felt being able complete these tasks- an area that he took great pride in and thus went into this field for his major.


              Prior to his publications about the conceptions of society which I will discuss in the second installment Bacon was a lawyer, member of Parliament, Queen’s Counsel and wrote questions of law, state and religion. He had three chief goals to live by: serve his country, uncover the truth and to serve his church. He always struggled with preexisting approaches or methods of others- a quality that made him a natural-born philosopher. He wanted to know more and always thought his colleagues could have contributed to modern science in more ways practical than not. He believed that science should pave a way for solutions based on practicality and problem solving. This is where his 1605 Advancement of Learning comes into context, which again, I will be discussing in the next installment. Until then, I hope you enjoyed just a brief overview of what all Bacon did and what he stood for. I'd like to leave you with a quote, "If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties."- Francis Bacon

1 comment:

  1. Knowledge IS power... and yet, we keep putting know-nothings in position of power. We still have to find a way to make knowledge self-evidently valuable for the voting masses, if democracy is to empower all its citizens. Maybe you can address that most practical demand in your next installment. And for fun, maybe check out the odd way in which Sir Francis met his end. (See Simon Critchley's "Book of Dead Philosophers" - https://books.google.com/books?id=pgTDlLHAMekC&printsec=frontcover&dq=book+of+dead+philosophers&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjS7_6BwMfTAhWnh1QKHbTQDx8Q6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=francis%20bacon&f=false

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