CHAPTER II
SOME HISTORICAL FACTORS IN PHILOSOPHICAL RECONSTRUCTION

FRANCIS BACON of the Elizabethan age is the great forerunner of the spirit of modern life. Though slight in accomplishment, as a prophet of new tendencies he is an outstanding figure of the world's intellectual life. Like many another prophet he suffers from confused intermingling of old and new. What is most significant in him has been rendered more or less familiar by the later course of events. But page after page is filled with matter which belongs to the past from which Bacon thought he had escaped. Caught between these two sources of easy disparagement, Bacon hardly receives his due as the real founder of modern thought, while he is praised for merits which scarcely belong to him, such as an alleged authorship of the specific methods of induction pursued by science. What makes Bacon memorable is that breezes blowing from a new world caught and filled his sails and stirred him to adventure in new seas. He never himself discovered the land of promise, but he proclaimed the new goal and by faith he descried its features from afar.

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