Francis Bacon’s Understanding of Philosophy

Francis Bacon’s Understanding of Philosophy

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

English philosopher and essayist, who pioneered the idea of ​​scientific empiricism, whose philosophy historians started with him, not with Descartes, as is the case with the majority. Francis Bacon, who is seen as the founder of British empiricism ranging from Locke to Hume, from John Stuart Mill to Bertrand Russell, produced a wide range of theoretical and literary works.

In fact, Bacon Instauratio Magna (Great Renewal) in order to reorganize the sciences, Bacon’s design consisted of repartitioning the sciences, a new research method, the collection of scientific observations and facts, the examples of the new method, and the new philosophy itself that would emerge from the application of this method. However, Bacon was only able to complete some parts of this huge work. (Although Bacon published a book with this name in 1620, the published book was only a sketch of the giant work he had designed.) One of these pieces, The Prestige and Development of the Sciences (De dignitate et augmentis scientiarum, 1623), was the first important work of philosophy written in English. It is a revised version of The Advancement of Learning (The Advancement of Learning, 1605). Other parts of the great unfinished work include the New Organon (Novum Organum, 1620), which advocates the end of Aristotelian domination, and the New Atlantis (Nova Atlantis, 1627), a notable example of utopia.

Bacon pioneered the “new” empiricism that emerged from the achievements of early modern science. Bacon, who opposes the appeal to authorities and therefore scholasticism, thinks that what humanity needs is a new attitude and methodology based on a scientific practice. The purpose of accessing knowledge is, above all, the good of humanity. Bacon described the social order that should be born out of this applied science, or rather the social order he hoped to achieve, in the utopia called New Atlantis. The most important work of Bacon, who wrote many essays on the reorganization of natural sciences, is the font New Organon. The New Organon, named after Aristotle’s “corpus of logic” (Organon), gives the first signs of a break with traditional scientific research methods. This work can also be seen as part of Bacon’s attempt to reorganize the sciences. While the first part of the New Organon, which consists of two parts, grounds the need for the inductive method, the second part focuses on the applications of this method. In the first chapter, Bacon rejects the Aristotelian a priori deductive method, which was widely accepted in his time, and attempts to ground human understanding in observation and experiment. The option Bacon proposes is clearly the a posteriori inductive method. According to Bacon, we must first observe nature through experiments and collect data, then analyze what we know, and finally act according to the most reliable truths we have reached. Bacon distinguishes between making predictions about nature and interpreting nature: there is little reason to believe predictions; These are generalizations made easily and hastily. Interpretations, on the other hand, are based on various data that enable us to penetrate things and approach them. Although interpretations are not always easily accepted, they should obviously be considered as the most reliable method of explaining nature. According to Bacon, this “new logic”, this new way of thinking will replace the deductive logic of Aristotelian syllogism, whose examples are based on simple ordering. None of the old logics and old thinking traditions are capable of producing real knowledge of the laws of nature.

Bacon thinks that we should intervene in nature by dominating nature through “experimental control” or “supervised experiment” that leads to the discovery of new technologies. However, in order to dominate nature, it is necessary first to know it well, and to understand how it works with which causal laws: “To know is to dominate.” However, there are well-known obstacles to accessing the knowledge of causal laws. The human mind is full of vain thoughts and trivial delusions. Bacon calls the ideas based on misconceptions and prejudices that lead us to make hasty predictions about nature rather than explaining it by interpreting it as “idols of mind”. If human beings want to grasp nature in its own reality and reach the right information about it, the first thing to do is to get rid of these “idols” that have settled in the human mind as soon as possible. Unless these “delusions” are eradicated, the idea or ideal of “dominating nature” cannot go beyond an empty dream.

The “theory of idols” is transformed into a general theory of ideology in Bacon’s work, the font New Organon, which describes the harmful and destructive effects of man’s blind attachment to the artifacts created by language, tradition and imagination. Bacon is on his way to real knowledge.