The Views and Opinions of Francis Bacon

714 Words2 Pages

Francis Bacon wrote more than 30 works of philosophy and many other tracts on law and science. He is regarded by many as the father of British empiricism. In his Novum Organum (1620), he presents a "new method" for acquiring knowledge that abandons the traditional deference toward the received wisdoms of Aristotle and other classical sources and advocates inductive, theory-free observations by the senses. The main features of Baconian scientific inquiry (chastity, holiness and legality), Bacon's criteria for assessing the merit of philosophical ideas (usefulness and charitgy), the main themes of Bacon's Instauratio Magna; and his identification of obstacles to the acquisition of knowledge (anti-Aristotlean).

I. Francis Bacon sought to acquire useful knowledge. He took a distaste for Aristotle and Scholasticism while a student at Trinity College.

II. Bacon rebelled against the regnant Western philosophical tradition.

A. He attacked it for confusing religious and natural knowledge and for emphasing concern for words rather than concern for things. Westerners are too concerned with rhetoric.

B. He sought to reorient rational inquiry toward existing things; ie. The natural world. This imquiry must be: (divorce from classics and new marriage)

Chaste--ie, Without ornamentation or self-indulgence

Holy--ie. Undertaken with Christian humility and reverence, and directed toward charitable use (eleviate human suffering)

Legal--ie. It must follow rules and the correct method for acquiring knowledge.

C. Bacon intend his New Organon (as opposed to the Organon that was always taught in western universities) to move European thought away from the worn and torture...

... middle of paper ...

...ibe" are the general tendencies inherent in human nature (uncritical reliance on sense perception, overgeneralizing, perceiving order where none exists)

"Idols of the Cave" are distortions arising from our particular perspectiveds of individual people.

"Idols of the Marketplace" are distortions arising from faulty communication, and especially from ambiguous words.

"Idols of the Theater" are errors introduced by abstract theories (authority such as especially Aristotelianism and of systems that mix theological and scientific notions.

The Utopian New Atlantis (a new relationship between man and nature) in which human beings govern their relationship with natue and to society on behalf of real interest--knowledge is the instrument by patient observation. This gained disciples over time in the 17th century.

Open Document