Francis Bacon

Introduction


Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was a scientist, essayist, politician, philosopher, and an enthusiastic innovator in the methods of science. He is remembered for establishing the inductive reasoning, which is also commonly known as the scientific method, urging full investigation in all cases and avoiding theories based on insufficient data. Bacon was skeptical of both reason and observation, and avoided theories based on insufficient data. He projected a large philosophical work, the Instauratio Magna, but completed only two parts; The Advancement of Learning (1605) and the Novum Organum (1620).
Sir Francis Bacon
Sir Francis Bacon

Contents


I. Early Life and Career
II. Works and Philosophies
III. Death
IV. Timeline
V. Sources

I. Early Life and Career


Francis Bacon was born on January 22, 1561 in London, England. He was the youngest of five sons of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal under Elizabeth I. His mother was Ann Cooke Bacon, who was the second wife of Sir Nicholas. At the age of twelve, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge and studied law. He began his professional life as a lawyer. He later went on to take a seat in the House of Commons. Such honors were bestowed on Bacon: he was knighted in 1603, made Solicitor General in 1604, Attorney General in 1613, and Lord Chancellor in 1618. He became very experienced Unknown to many students studying him, Francis bacon was a homosexual. Although many people do not think that this would have an impact on his ideas and teaching, it did. Being a homosexual meant that he was different from a vast majority of society, which made him question ideas and theories even more.


II. Works and Philosophies


Francis Bacon was brilliant as a scientist and philosopher. Bacon is remembered mostly for his work with the inductive method. His works began with phenomena of nature. Natures are the natural phenomena of heat, sound, light, or of any other actual object of the investigations of physical science. He also wrote many essays on philosophical ideas, such as: Truth, Death, Unity in Religion, Revenge, Adversity, Simulation and Dissimulation, Parents and Children, Marriage and Single Life, Envy, Love, Delays, Cunning, Wisdom for a Man's Self, Innovations, Dispatch, Seeming Wise, Friendship, Expense, The True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates, Regiment of Health, Suspicion, Discourse, Plantations, Riches, Prophecies, Ambition, Masques and Triumphs, Nature in Men, Custom and Education, Fortune and many, many more. Bacon's main philosophy was called "Instauratio magna scientiarum" which means "The Great Restoration of Learning". Bacon knew that knowledge was power. To him, science is not theoretical, it was practical. Science was created so that man could solve the reason for existence, to solve the reason for nature, so that man could decipher the knowledge that god had intended us to . Bacon realized that science was a tool created to allow him to reach "regnum hominis," the dominion of man. Dominion means control, to gain control over nature. But Bacon also realized that before he could gain control over nature, he would have to be controlled by nature first. He had to do what nature intended him to do, only then could he become nature's master.

As for Bacon's popular finding, the inductive (or scientific) method, it began with many observations of nature, with the goal of finding a few, powerful statements about how nature works, laws and theories. In this method, observation of nature is the authority. If an idea conflicts with what happens in nature, the idea must be changed or abandoned.

Bacon also wrote two well known philosophical pieces during his time. The Advancement of Learning (1605) is the written work in which Bacon sketched out the main themes and ideas that he continued to refine and develop throughout his career. He began with the notion that there are clear obstacles to or diseases of learning that must be avoided or purged before further progress is possible. His work, Novum Organum (1620), was written because Bacon clearly felt he was supplying a new instrument for guiding and correcting the mind in its quest for a true understanding of nature. The Novum Organum was presented as a series of aphorisms, a technique that Bacon came to favor as less legislative and dogmatic. This allowed it to be more in the true spirit of scientific experiment and critical inquiry. Combined with his gift for illustrative metaphor and symbol, the aphoristic style makes this work in many places the most readable of all Bacon’s scientific and philosophical works. After obtaining a large amount of power in the Government and subsequently writing The Advancement of Learning and Novum Organum, Bacon was accused of corruption and bribery while in the judicial office by his enemies in Parliament. Bacon submitted to the accusations at the trial, even though there was never any proof found that the gifts given to him by his supporters influenced his decisions at all.

III. Death


Francis Bacon's death is quite ironic. In 1626, Bacon decided to experiment with the effect of cold on the decay of meat. After purchasing a dead chicken, he stuffed it with snow, which later caused him to catch a cold. His cold quickly developed into bronchitis followed by a severe case of pneumonia. He then died on April 9th, 1626 and was buried at Saint Michael's Church in St. Albans, North of London, Hertfordshire. Today, Francis Bacon is looked upon as one of the great scholars responsible for the mathematical and scientifical advances during the Scientific Revolution in Europe.
Memorial for Francis Bacon
Memorial for Francis Bacon



IV. Timeline



1561: Bacon born in London.

1582: Becomes a barrister.

1584: Becomes a member of parliament.

1601: Prosecutes Essex.

1603: Elizabeth I dies. Bacon is knighted.

1604: Solicitor General.

1605: Publishes The Advancement of Learning.

1613: Made Attorney General.

1618: Made Lord Chancellor.

1620: Publishes Novum Organum.

1621: Made a peer. Accepts a litigant's bribe.

1623: Publishes De Augmentis Scientarum.

1624: Publishes Apothegms.

1626: Dies.

1627: His work Apothegms comes out posthumously.

1629: His work The World comes out posthumously.


V. Sources



1. "Bacon, Francis." Info Please. 2007. 11 Sept. 2007 <http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/people/A0805671.html>.

2. Burtt, Edwin A. The English Philosophers From Bacon to Mill. New York: Random House, Inc., 1939. 3-123.

3. Donnelly, Darri. "THE ESSAYS OF FRANCIS BACON." Our World. July 1997.
<http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/mike_donnelly/bacon.htm>.

4."Francis Bacon." Answers.Com. 2007. 13 Sept. 2007 <http://www.answers.com/topic/francis-bacon?cat=technology>.

5. "Historical Development." The Inductive (Scientific) Method. 2005. 13 Sept. 2007
<http://www.batesville.k12.in.us/Physics/PhyNet/AboutScience/Inductive.html>.

6. Kramer, David. "The Philosophy of Francis Bacon." The Radical Academy. 11 Sept. 2007 <http://www.radicalacademy.com/philfrancisbacon.htm>.

7. Landry, Pete. "Francis Bacon: "Secretary of Nature"" Biographies. 2004. 11 Sept. 2007
<http://www.blupete.com/Literature/Biographies/Philosophy/Bacon.htm#Dates>.