Free «Bacon’s Scientific Method in the History of Philosophy» Essay Sample

The Age of Renaissance was marked with widespread attempts of scientists to deny the scholastic aristotelianism and to find another way to cognize the world. Aristotle and his logic was in that time the symbol of Middle Ages and the darkness in which philosophy and science were merely servants of their great master – theology. The philosopher from embodied all sins of Christian Church which, as many thinkers considered, stopped the process of scientific and cultural development in Europe and brought the cult of St. Paul’s (or Tertullian’s) faith without any approving. Certainly, such views also touched categorical syllogism; thus, the Renaissance waited for another method in lieu of that.

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In the end of Renaissance (XVII century) English philosopher Francis Bacon creates new Methodology of science, which consists of two parts: destructive and constructive. The first part concerns the Bacon’s teaching about human delusions. Dividing the nature into human and objective, Bacon claims that there are no mistakes in objective world, only human with cognizing process can bring own delusions to the object. In such way, mistakes appear in scientific knowledge and pervert it. Bacon mentions four kinds of delusions (he calls them “idols”): “Idols of the Tribe” (when human seeks in the objective world anthropomorphic features and regularities), “Idols of the Den” (connected with education and socialization of the person), “Idols of the Marketplace” (uncertainty of language) and “Idols of the Theatre.” For objective research scientists must cast aside all of these “idols” and only then he will be able to use the second part of Bacon’s methodology, constructive part. Bacon’s method is based on opinion that in process of cognition takes part either perception, or mind. The destination of constructive part of methodology is to compensate some defects of these sources of knowledge. For the first purpose he offers experiment, and for the second induction.

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Experiment serves for gaining needful experience from situations, created by scientists in lieu of accidental gathering of some facts. Certainly, it is more productive way to cognize the world, when researcher can chose time and place, and to control in the main points the object of view. Induction helps to generalize data, received from experiment; its essence is connection of distinct facts in one system with the next generalization in conclusion. The seeking of stable connection between some facts is making in the next order. Firstly, researcher seeks the accident of presence of some quality, then its absence and some examples of expression of that quality in varying degrees. Then scientist concludes, what qualities are connected with the object of research, detecting in such way the stable qualities of things.

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Francis Bacon demonstrates in allegorical form how experiment must be connected with induction in true scientific method. Those scientists who only gather facts are like ants, because they also always gather everything, but do not generate from it any production. Those who only create logical systems (as scholastic philosophers did) are similar, according to Bacon, to spiders, because they also weave their webs and nothing more. Though, that scientist who uses the method of Bacon is similar to bee, because it gathers pollen to convert it to honey.

Thus, Bacon’s method was created as antithesis of Aristotle’s syllogism based on connecting of experience with thinking. Its destination was to improve scientific cognition. Though, it had some weak sides, and one of them is that Bacon, being writing about idols, was captured by one of them: the idol of theatre. In seeking of qualities of things (or their “forms”) Bacon continued Aristotle’s and scholastic tradition in one of its main feature. Certainly, “form” was the part of Aristotle’s terminology, and Bacon could not understand the content of term “law” in Galileo’s meaning. He identified terms “law” and “form,” so in this aspect his conception existed in frame of Philosophy of Renaissance age which moved to its end.

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