The Hutchinson Encyclopedia of the Renaissance

By David Rundle | Go to book overview

B

Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam and Viscount St Albans (1561-1626)

English philosopher, politician, and writer, a founder of modern scientific research. His works include Essays ( 1597, revised and augmented 1612 and 1625), characterized by pith and brevity; The Advancement of Learning ( 1605), a seminal work discussing scientific method; Novum Organum ( 1620), in which he redefined the task of natural science, seeing it as a means of empirical discovery and a method of increasing human power over nature; and The New Atlantis ( 1626), describing a utopian state in which scientific knowledge is systematically sought and exploited. He was briefly Lord Chancellor in 1618 but lost his post through corruption.

Bacon was born in London, studied law at Cambridge from 1573, was part of the embassy in France until 1579, and became a member of Parliament in 1584. In 1596 he became a Queen's Counsel. He was the nephew of Queen Elizabeth's adviser Lord Burghley, but turned against him when he failed to provide Bacon with patronage and attached himself to Burghley's rival, the Earl of Essex. He subsequently helped secure the execution of the Earl of Essex as a traitor in 1601. Bacon was accused of ingratitude to his patron, but he defended himself in Apology ( 1604), arguing that his first loyalty was to his sovereign. In 1618, having risen to Lord Chancellor, he confessed to bribe-taking, was fined £40,000 (which was later remitted by the king), and spent four days in the Tower of London. From then on he devoted himself to science and writing, in both Latin and English.

Satirist Alexander Pope called Bacon 'the wisest, brightest, and meanest of mankind'. Knighted on the accession of James I in 1603, he became Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount St Albans in 1621. His writings helped to inspire the founding of the Royal Society. The Baconian theory, originated by James Willmot in 1785, suggesting that the works of Shakespeare were written by Bacon, is not taken seriously by scholars.

He died after catching a cold while stuffing a chicken with snow in an early experiment in refrigeration.

In philosophy, Bacon's work on scientific method has been influential. At Cambridge he had found that the Aristotelian system taught at the time produced only verbal argument but no concrete results. He therefore decided that a new approach must be made to the whole problem of systematizing knowledge. A new instrument of thought, a 'novum organum', must be provided to replace the traditional organum (system) of Aristotle. So arose his great plan for the renewal of knowledge, the vast 'Instauratio Scientiarum', which he formed at an early age and sketched out in 1620 in the introduction to his Novum Organum. It was a grandiose scheme, of which only parts were completed.

First, there was to be a survey of existing human knowledge; the initial sketch of this was The Advancement of Learning, later revised and expanded in the Latin version, De Augmentis Scientiarum ( 1623). Second, there was to be a description of a new method of acquiring knowledge. The outline of this was the Novum Organum, which sets out the principles of the Baconian method: to discover the hidden, simple laws of the universe by gathering scientific data, and, by eliminating all its incidental attributes, to arrive at its essential causes. Bacon's scheme was to include a section assembling empirical data, another propounding solutions, and a final section extracting from these a new philosophy. Related to these projections is The New Atlantis, which, like Thomas More Utopia, embodies a description of an ideal commonwealth. This makes some remarkable predictions about scientific inventions, including a kind of telephone. Sylva Sylvarum ( 1627), on which Bacon was working at his death, dealt with natural history, and was also part of the 'Instauratio'.


Bade, Josse (JODOCUS BADIUS ASCENSIUS) (146½-1535)

Flemish humanist editor and printer, born near Ghent but active in France. While teaching in Lyons,

-31-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Hutchinson Encyclopedia of the Renaissance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps vi
  • List of Genealogies vii
  • Introduction ix
  • A 1
  • B 31
  • C 72
  • D 121
  • E 141
  • F 156
  • G 175
  • H 206
  • I 225
  • J 228
  • K 235
  • L 239
  • M 259
  • N 295
  • O 303
  • P 307
  • Q 340
  • R 342
  • S 355
  • T 382
  • U 395
  • V 397
  • W 409
  • X 415
  • Z 416
  • Thematic Index 419
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 436

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.