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By Catherine Drinker Bowen

The portrait Bowen paints of this arguable guy, Francis Bacon (1561-1626), balances the outward lifestyles and activities of Bacon with the probably contradictory elements of his sophisticated philosophical reflections. As Lord Chancellor of britain, Bacon used to be impeached by means of Parliament for taking bribes in place of work, convicted, and banished from London and the legislations courts. In a prayer Bacon composed through the period following his punishment, he unearths that the dichotomy of his lifestyles was once not more deeply felt than via himself, and he simply admits that his tasks to society weren't as proper to his nature because the learn of philosophy, technology, and legislations.

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Francis Bacon: The Temper of a Man

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Extra info for Francis Bacon: The Temper of a Man

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Many of Bacon's letters survive in manuscript, and the letters of his brother Anthony, of his mother, his father, his uncle the great Lord Burghley, of his aunts and maternal grandfather and his celebrated, busy cousin, Sir Robert Cecil. These can be seen at Lambeth in the Archbishop's library, or in the British Museum and in various muniment rooms, record offices and research libraries here and abroad. By far the best edition of Bacon's private papers, speeches, public utterances and writings was made by James Spedding, published at intervals between 1857 and 1874, the first seven volumes being the Works, the last seven, Bacon's Letters and Life.

Had Montaigne eschewed mathematics because it might withstand his Pyrrhonian criticisms? Modern physics has always been at the center of modern science, and modern physics is through and through mathematical physics. Accordingly, some kind of certitude has often been associated with modern science. Bacon was an animated and powerful critic of the limits and shortcomings of the human mind. The negative critique of his New Organon takes aim at Aristotelian and other abstract philosophies that give epistemic primacy to theory.

Present-day scholars echo Wards's damning remark. The physicist-turned-historian-of-science Dijksterhuis counted Bacon's "undervaluation of mathematics as one of [his] easily recognized defects," and the historian Thorndike held his "total disregard of mathematical method'' to be his greatest defect. In spite of this, Bacon has been praised as a founder of the modern inductive method of empirical scientific inference. Indeed, a long-standing interpretation has construed his method as an infallible, mechanical means of generating true theories from observations systematically collected.

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