Free «Sir Francis Bacon and the Beginnings of Modern Philosophy of Knowledge» Essay Sample


The research in philosophy of science would allow for better understanding of its historical development, as well as of the implications thereof to the current scientific studies. In particular, the methodological and epistemological innovations brought about by Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) merit special attention, as they led to fundamental reevaluation of the conceptual basics of the modern philosophy of knowledge and science.


This study aims to present a compelling account of the Baconian paradigm of scientific cognition, as well as of its basic design for natural sciences. The author suggests that the Baconian eliminative induction research design, while being prone to fallibility, proved an important step in the development of modern science. In addition, the outline of Bacon’s concept of ‘idols of mind’ shall be presented in order to put forward the complexities of this thinker’s philosophy of mind.

Literature review

The New Organon is the basic work dealing with philosophy of knowledge penned by Bacon himself (2000/1620). In the course of the study, numerous references to this primary source would be provided, in order to substantiate the author’s argument.

The core secondary sources to be used include Zagorin’s (1999) seminal biography of Francis Bacon, which presents an account of the philosopher’s intellectual development and conceptual innovations; Gaukroger’s (2004) comprehensive study of Baconian contributions to the transformations of early-modern philosophy, with appropriate emphasis played on the epistemological innovations; and Matthews’ (2008) discussion of the relationship between Baconian natural philosophy and theology. In addition, several supplementary sources are utilized, to be cited in the paper’s References section.


The author regards the Baconian philosophy of knowledge as an integral part of his own natural philosophy. Accordingly, the discussion of epistemological issues is inextricably connected with the review of Bacon’s ideas on the purposes of sciences.


Overall, the study results may enable one to state that Bacon’s philosophy of knowledge has been an important part of the Scientific Revolution that unfolded in the 17th century.


Further discussions on the issues presented in the paper may concern such aspects as Bacon’s attitude to religion, his utopian scientist project as referred to in New Atlantis, or the relationship between his political and philosophical views. However, the scope of the present paper has not allowed the author to touch upon these problems.


In total, the discussion of Bacon’s views on sciences and knowledge in general may help to elucidate the roots of modern scientism, with respective conclusions reached. In addition, the research in Baconian paradigm would be beneficial from the point of view of studying the further paradigmatic revolutions in exact and natural sciences.


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