Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Francis Bacon (1561-1626):  Inventing Science?

Having recently listened to the next three philosophers, Descartes (1596-1650), Pascal (1623-1662) and Spinoza (1632-1677), it would be negligent of me to ignore Bacon.  I am listening to Novum Organum Scientiarum which is essentially a declaration of war on Aristotle, Plato, ignorance, superstition and all that stuff. It would be unfair to quote Bacon's criticism of anyone in particular for the simple reason that he criticizes everyone indiscriminately.  I have a little sense of an urban planner who advocates nuclear war so that he will have greater opportunity to practice his trade.  As for what he promotes, that is inductive reason without any regard to the opinions of others, since if too many people agree on something then it must be wrong.  Bacon did not invent "Peer Review".  Otherwise, things are too scattered to generalize.  The only people who manage to get some praise from Bacon are the ancient Greeks like Heraclitus, Anaxagoras and Democritus, whose work comes to us in such a fragmentary state as to preclude criticism.

Since I am also listening to John Calvin (1509-1564), it is worth noting that Calvin likewise finds fault with just about everyone at one point or another.  On the other hand, Calvin seems to find many with worthy opinions even if sometimes wrong.  The other item of note is that Calvin is more interested in defining and affirming a coherent system rather than simply tearing everything down.


Ursula said...

B & C, it's dynamite. Set tune to ACDC's 'TNT'. Yes, I know it's a bit basic. But we all have to start somewhere in the food chain. Not least barnacles.

Bacon is my man - criticizing indiscriminately. He may now wish to NOT praise the Greeks even if they do have alluring names like "Anaxagoras". First Trojan horses, now we have to bail the Greeks out to keep them in the (Euro) zone. Well, let's see. Don't send troops yet. I shall not say what is on the tip of my tongue because some Americans deserve better.

As to Calvin. That he "finds fault with just about everyone at one point or another" comes with his chosen territory. So no surprises there.


Looney said...

TNT is stable and fairly difficult to ignite.

U, I do think the lesson of the ancient Greeks could be taken to heart. Not only should they be separate from the EU, but the Greeks proved to be most capable when they had seceded from each other so that each city was its own country. Makes it easier to know who is responsible.