Bacon on the Origin of Error and Prejudice

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Abstract

Bacon’s Wisdom of the Ancients (1609) is his most popular work next to his Essays (1597, 1612, 1625). It deals exclusively with ancient myths. This is the best indication of the great change in popular taste between our age and the late Renaissance. Today we find no use to reading meanings into ancient myths; the appeal of this literature to the readers of the late Renaissance makes no sense to us. My discussion here takes the concerns of Bacon and his readers as given while relating it to his view of science and in particular his view of scientific research and what will make for its success, even though the value of his studies of myths is obviously more literary and historical than methodological. It is the irony of history that the artistic merit of the book is what raised suspicions as to its original authorship, suspicion that research on it fully justifies (Lemmi 1933). Yet our concern with his view of research is a concern with what was decidedly peculiar to him.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBoston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Pages49-56
Number of pages8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

NameBoston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science
Volume298
ISSN (Print)0068-0346
ISSN (Electronic)2214-7942

Keywords

  • Ancient Myth
  • Free Moment
  • Mother Nature
  • Popular Work
  • Universal Knowledge

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