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Bacon’s Instauratio Magna (“The Great Beginning”) of 1605-1620. What could have prompted Bacon to write about this? What is he worried about? What does the existing way of thinking lack? What does he want thinkers to do differently than they have been doing?

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bacon s instauratio magna the great beginning of 1605 1620
Bacon’s Instauratio Magna (“The Great Beginning”) of 1605-1620
  • What could have prompted Bacon to write about this?
  • What is he worried about?
  • What does the existing way of thinking lack?
  • What does he want thinkers to do differently than they have been doing?
  • What are some authorities that people just took on faith to explain things?
bacon s new atlantis 1627
Bacon’s New Atlantis (1627)

Voyaging from Peru on a long journey through the South Seas, a group of travelers accidentally come upon an uncharted island which has a mysterious culture. Called Bensalem, this culture is wonderfully perfect. It is rich, technically advanced, and peaceful. Its citizens are happy. The travelers are at once given luxurious accommodations by the island’s leaders and made to feel welcome and comfortable. Then, they are left free to tour the island, to marvel at its beauty and organization. Later that evening, they meet with the island’s leader, who reveals to the admiring travelers, the secret of his culture


The purpose of our society is the knowledge of causes and secret motions of things, and the enlarging of the boundaries of human pursuits, so that we may accomplish all things possible.

new atlantis
New Atlantis

Each document describes one important and admirable aspect of Bensalem’s scientific utopia

  • Caves and Towers
  • Lakes, Wells, and Weather
  • Orchards, Gardens, and Parks
  • Food and Medicine
  • Furnaces and Light
  • Sounds and Smells
  • Engines and Machines

Each group needs to read the selected document

  • Appoint a scribe to take notes on your document
  • Be prepared to discuss at least two modern discovery or invention prefigured by Bacon
  • Inventions will be listed on the board
francis bacon 1561 1626 english
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English
  • Favored inductive (experimental) method
    • Reasoning from detailed facts to general principlesEMPIRICISM
  • Observe, accumulate data, experiment to refine, draw conclusions, formulate principles
  • One of the first European writers to champion innovation and change as goals contributing to human improvement
bacon s new atlantis
Bacon’s New Atlantis
  • Importance to have official organization by the gov’t in which scientific achievement is rewarded
  • NovumOrganum(1620) and New Atlantis (1627) attacked medieval scholasticism belief that the body of knowledge was complete
  • New Atlantis showed the potential of science through a scientific utopia with many modern technological developments

Royal British Society founded in London in 1660

  • French Academy of Sciences in Paris in 1666
  • Inspired by Bacon’s book
bacon s visionary scientific organization on the utopian island of bensalem
Bacon’s Visionary Scientific Organization on the Utopian Island of Bensalem
  • Read each point
  • Is it important to have an official organization, sanctioned by the government, in which scientific achievement is publicized and rewarded?
  • What might be the drawbacks?
what is the scientific method
What is the scientific method?
  • A systematized attempt to uncover the secrets of the natural world by experimentation and mathematical proof
  • Galileo can be credited with advancing the method through experimentation

Statement of problem

  • Collect information
  • Organize and Analyze
  • Create Hypotheses
  • Deductions are drawn from the hypotheses
  • Verify hypotheses
rene descartes 1596 1650 french
Rene’ Descartes (1596-1650) French
  • Discourse on Method (1637) arguedeverything not validated by observation should be doubted
  • “I think, therefore I am” proved his own existence
  • God was part of nature
  • Cartesian Dualism divided all things into either spiritual (mind) or material (matter)
    • Material world operated in a mechanistic manner
  • Goal was to reconcile religion and science

Most important contribution: scientific method relying more on deduction

  • Deductive reasoning—go from general principle to the specific
    • Break everything down; go from simplest to hardest idea
diagram for deductive logic
Diagram for Deductive Logic

All animals eventually die.

A cat is an animal

Therefore, a cat will eventually die

what is the inherent danger of this type of reasoning
What is the inherent danger of this type of reasoning?
  • That the general law has exceptions and is not always true.
              • All cats have tails
              • Fluffy is a cat
              • Fluffy has a tail
              • But what if Fluffy is a Manx?
              • If your basic starting hypotheses is incorrect, everything you deduce from it will be incorrect
nature as mechanism
Nature as Mechanism

Who wrote, “I am much occupied with the investigation of the physical causes. My aim in this is to show that the machine of the universe is not similar to a divine animated being, but similar to a clock.”

What does this quote say about the changing view of universe and nature?