Sir Frances Bacon

Topics: Science, Scientific method, Truth Pages: 6 (2805 words) Published: October 8, 2014
Francis Bacon is generally recognized as the first great writer of English philosophy although he had no great respect for the English language. It is a known fact that Bacon is influenced by Montaigne. Emerson is the one modern writer with whom Bacon may be fairly compared, for their method is much the same. They endeavour to reach the reader’s mind by a series of aphoristic attacks. In rhetorical power, musical cadence, quaint turns of speech, he is equalled by many of his contemporaries, excelled by a few, but for a clear, terse, easy writing, he has no peer save Ben Jonson, and even to-day his Essays are models of succinct, lucid prose. Material success and services to humanity were his objects in life. These aims were sometimes in conflict; though he did his best to blend them, and when the tussle came, personal considerations won the day. Bacon’s essays are much more concentrated and concise in nature. His values lie more in psychology rather than in theology and ethics. His essays straightway touch the heart of mankind. It was his essays through which bacon proved himself a great writer of his own language. The essential merit of Bacon’s Essay lies in the density of the thought and expression, the frequent brilliance of the poetic images. Within these limits bacon’s essays have singular force and weight. His essays have become classics of the English language. Another striking characteristic of bacon’s style is his constant use of figurative language. The language and style of his essays is largely filled with Latinisms, so that some knowledge of Latin language should be serviceable to the readers. His style of essays illustrates and reinforces his ideas and arguments with appropriate similes, metaphors and quotations. His essays are remarkable for its terseness. Condensation style is highly commendable. England in the later Elizabethan and Jacobean period was less happy. It was racked by changes in ideas, politics, and society which were revolutionary in pace. But Bacon, unlike some of his contemporaries, did not succumb to the disease of melancholy which Robert Burton anatomized; nor did he whine about 'all coherence gone' or complain that new philosophy calls all in doubt'. Bacon was not ignorant of the economic and social defects of his time, the prevalence of corruptions in government and law, the rising tensions which ultimately led to the Civil War. But he also saw the fact that England and Scotland were essentially and potentially good. A significant instance of this optimism is to be found in the essay Of Plantations. Other writers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were prone to praise savages as noble and to use their reactions to European civilization as a vehicle for denouncing its weaknesses. In contrast, Bacon reverses this approach, urging that natives from overseas should be brought to England that they may see a better condition than their own and commend it when they return. Bacon was one of the first thinkers to accept and popularize the idea of progress. Unlike many men of his period, he would not dismiss defects in society and knowledge as God's will or as the unavoidable results of human depravity and God's curse after the sin of Adam and Eve. Nor would he subscribe to the prevalent doctrine that nature was decaying. In the changing circumstances and ideas of his time, Bacon saw opportunity, not reason for despair. In his opinion there was need for an efficient and systematic appraisal of man's achievements and of the obstacles which stood in the way of further advances. Based on this appraisal, there should be a programme to promote learning and speed progress. Knowledge meant power, and power meant the empire of man over himself and nature. To these ends Bacon propounded his grand design: He thought all trial should be made, whether that commerce between the mind and the nature of things, which is more Precious than anything on earth, or at least anything that is of the earth,...
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