Francis Bacon was born in London in 1561 and died 1626. He ended up being a great philosopher, an author, and the inventor of the inductive method, also known for advancing the scientific method. He was the second son of Sir Nicholas Bacon and Lady Anne Cooke Bacon. Lady Anne was the second wife of Sir Nicholas. Sir Nicholas was also the Lord Keeper of the Seal at the time, which is a job that would eventually be held by his son, Francis Bacon.
Bacon started going to Trinity College in Cambridge in 1573, when he was only 11 years old. He completed his course of study there only two years later.
After that he went to the school that his older brother, Anthony, went to which was Grey’s Inn, where he studied law after his father died in 1579. Bacon’s involvement in high politics started in 1584. He always aimed to change the thoughts of natural philosophy and tried to get himself in high political offices.
However, Queen Elizabeth tended not to trust him very much especially he refused to agree to her request of funds for the Parliament. He decided to vote to allow the subsidies but to double the amount of time it takes to deliver them.
“Bacon had emphasized the necessity of scientific improvement and progress. Since he failed to secure for himself a position in the government, he considered the possibility of giving up politics and concentrating on natural philosophy. It is no wonder, then, that Bacon engaged in many scholarly and literary pursuits in the 1590s”(Klein). In 1597, he published his first book, the seminal version of his Essays, though his income was still fairly unstable. I find it fairly humorous that Bacon planned to marry a rich widow named Lady Hatton, but was unable to because a man named Sir Edward Coke was courting her.
In 1617, Francis Bacon was made the new Keeper of The Seal, and was made lord chancellor the next year and received the title of Baron Verulam. In 1620, Bacon wrote the book “Novum Organum,” which means “New Method. ” He was the leading advocate of the inductive reasoning method. Inductive reasoning is the process that draws on the particulars of sensory evidence to form general principles(Fiero). He used inductive reasoning in attempts to improve the errors made by both Plato and Aristotle.
“Aristotelian philosophy was based on a set of rules that governed the consistency between conclusion and a foundation that was accepted as unquestioningly true; Bacon’s philosophy was the opposite”(Soibelman). Bacon turned his back on Aristotle and Classical science. He looked to remove errors by blind obedience of religions and traditional authorities(Fiero). Bacon was also warned against four “Idols” that make clear and objective thoughts difficult. The first he called The Idols of the Tribe, which are deceptive things inherent in the mind of man, and so the entire human race has it.
These may include that people always try to fit things into patterns, even if it isn’t actually in a pattern. They see what they want to see according to their beliefs because their six senses are flawed and are able to fool them(Terry). The next he called The Idols of the Cave, which are in the minds of each individual and are based on the individual education and background of each person. The “Cave” represents the mind. The person’s thoughts wander, some peoples thoughts wander more than others, through the cave of the mind.
They can be changed by the person’s mood, education, background and habit. People will usually look back on conclusions they have learned before or come up with themselves and they will tend to favor the ideas that support those previous ideas. Individuals also tend to favor different things because of their background or education. For example, some will favor differences, while others favor similarities. People will see different things depending on their interests as well. The mathematician will see math and numbers in all things, like the T. V. character Charlie Eppes from the show Numb3rs.
The chemist will see chemistry in all things and the architect tends to see shapes in all things. The third he called The Idols of the Marketplace, and that one was based on the verbal communication of people. It is based primarily on bad word choices and misunderstanding of others. He believed that, though people like to think they use words to express their thoughts on a subject, the words would replace thoughts all together. “…Words arise as substitutes for thoughts and men think they have won an argument because they have out-talked their opponents”(Hall).
Words can have several different meanings. For example, the word light could mean the opposite of heavy or it could mean something that illuminates, such as the sun, a lamp, fire, or a beacon. Another example of this is the word like. Like could mean to be similar to, or it could mean to have a preference for something. Words can frequently work against what the speaker is really trying to say. They can make things seem different than what was really intended. The last was known as The Idols of the Theatre, which are hindrances caused by philosophy, tradition, theology, and science.
Since these idols are practiced and defended by the well-educated people, the less-educated people tend to just accept their validity without question. This is how cults and even some religions have started. A person will take a single verse or small group of verses out of the Bible completely out of context and build a whole religion off of it. Using that method, a person could make the Bible say whatever they wanted it to say. The really sad part about that is that those cults will often still see themselves as, and call themselves Christians.
People who follow these ways of thinking have children and grandchildren who just accept it as truth because it’s all they’ve known, so it becomes part of their way of life and influences their way of thinking. In 1626, Francis Bacon decided to try an experiment on how the cold would affect the decay of meat. So he bought a chicken and stuffed it with snow. Unfortunately, he caught a cold, which developed into pneumonia, and he died on April 9th. Bacon was the man that set up the basis that let people like Galileo come up with the theories that they did.
Before this peoples’ philosophies were based on pure faith and, actually, had very little to do with logical reasoning. He was the guy that disagreed with the way things were and pointed them out. Descartes probably would not have gotten along with him very well. Even today, we base the majority of our philosophies on reasoning rather than just human belief. Actually, Bacon’s Four Idols are, even still, good things to watch out for and avoid. They do pose serious problems even if you aren’t a philosopher. There is a lot to be learned from the way Bacon looked at the world. Works Cited
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History of scientific method. (2018, Aug 25). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/history-of-scientific-method-essay