Francis Bacon

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Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St. Albans , 1st Baron Verulam (born  January 22, 1561 in London , †  April 9, 1626 in Highgate near London), was an English philosopher , lawyer and statesman , who is considered a pioneer of empiricism .

Portrait of Sir Francis Bacon. Frans Pourbus (1617), Łazienki Palace, WarsawFrancis Bacon Signature.svg




Francis Bacon was born on January 22 1561 in London as the younger of two sons from the second marriage of Sir Nicholas Bacon , as Lord Keeper of the Great Seal holder of the highest state law office, under Elizabeth I was born. His mother was Anne Cooke Bacon , whose sister was married to Lord Burghley . Lady Anne was very religious. She was a follower of Puritanism , which protested against state regulations. She was extremely well educated, perfect in Latin and Greek, as well as the newer languages ​​of French and Italian. She had a great influence on her sons, who were initially raised in the home.

From Nicholas Bacon's first marriage to Jane Fernley (around 1518 to around 1552), Francis Bacon had three half-brothers. With his brother Anthony he was friendly and professional until his death. His mother's religiosity and his father's political life shaped his life and worldview. Both set an example for him to value the obligation to the people more highly than his personal happiness.

Sir Nicholas Bacon (1510–1579), the father (portrait from 1579, artist unknown)
Anne Cooke Bacon (1527–1610), the mother, second wife of the father


At the age of 13 he came to Trinity College , Cambridge , where he studied medicine and law and lived with his older brother Anthony Bacon (1558-1601). As in other renowned schools, it was still customary in Trinity College to give preference to cramming the subject matter over one's own thinking. Even texts by the medieval reformers Duns Scotus , William von Ockham and Roger Bacon were not read. His aversion to “fruitless” Aristotelian philosophy in the style of scholasticism possibly originated from this period .

In 1576, the Bacon brothers were accepted into the societas magistrorum (i.e. faculty) of Gray's Inn (one of the four law schools in London). A few months later they went abroad to see Sir Amias Paulet, the English ambassador in Paris . The turbulent situation in France's government and society during the reign of Henry III. provided the attaché Francis Bacon with valuable political illustrative material.

In February 1579 he returned to England because of the sudden death of his father. Sir Nicholas had been unable to provide his youngest with financial security. It became necessary to take up a profession and Bacon resumed his law studies at the Inns of Court ( Gray's Inn ) in 1579 . In 1582 he graduated and settled as a barrister (lawyer). In 1581 he was first elected as a member of the House of Commons , of which he was a member until 1618. From 1588 he was active as a lecturer at Gray's Inn .

Bacon's life project was divided into three parts at the time: He was better from the creation of conditions for the production of knowledge in the interest of a scientifically valid and technically recoverable truth, from the practical political desire to serve his country, and something for the out of hope Church to do . In a letter to Queen Elisabeth in 1584, he asked for support for his grand plans. This political memorandum met with little response. Success as a lawyer and MP seemed more promising in this regard.

Conflict and Marriage

At the beginning of the 1590s he had found a patron in Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex , whom he served as a political advisor and who promoted him. His objection to the short payment period of three years for triple subsidies from the government put Bacon out of favor with Queen Elizabeth I in 1593. All Bacon's attempts to regain the Queen's favor failed, as did Essex's interventions in his favor.

In 1598, against Bacon's advice, Essex took command of the campaign against the insurgent Irish . Its failure disgraced Essex. He was placed under house arrest and his valuable red wine import monopoly was confiscated. Thereupon he attempted a coup d'état, which failed and led to the complete loss of his former position as a favorite with Queen Elizabeth I. Bacon was commissioned by the Queen to investigate Essex and to take part in the trial of the Earl in 1601 as a "learned counsel" (representative of the Crown) . Essex tried to incriminate Bacon before the Privy Council, which Bacon was able to prevent with difficulty.

Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.

Bacon's behavior in the Essex case has sparked controversy in the literature. "According to the location of the extensive documents, the course of events was clear ..." wrote Krohn. A possible attempt to evade Elizabeth I's orders would have made Bacon himself suspicious. During his lifetime, Bacon was publicly reprimanded by his Essex friends and followers for acting treasonously and ungratefully toward a friend . His reply was not accepted.

Francis Bacon married Alice Barnham (1592–1650), the fourteen-year-old daughter of the London City Council and member of the House of Commons, Benedict Barnham (1559–1598) for financial reasons. That being said, a rumor lingers about Bacon's homosexuality . John Aubrey showed his displeasure with Bacon's sexual orientation , and the puritan moralist Sir Simonds D'Ewes , who sat with Bacon in Parliament, mentions Bacon's inclination in his autobiography. In the print version from 1845, however, the corresponding passages were censored .

It was only under James I that he succeeded in advancing politically. In the course of the coronation celebrations, Bacon was promoted to Knight Bachelor on July 23, 1603 - as one of 300 followers - which was probably at the request of his cousin Robert Cecil . In 1607 he was appointed Solicitor General . In this capacity he indicted, among others, Walter Raleigh , which led to his sentencing to death. Bacon may have been involved in torture himself. However, this is not guaranteed. In his function as Lord Chancellor he witnessed the torture of the rebellious priest Edmund Peacham and signed - together with several other officials - the recommendation to question the dissident schoolmaster Samuel Peacock on the rack. Personally, however, he did not trust this method because people would lie to stop the pain. In 1613, after the death of his predecessor, he rose to the position of Attorney General . In 1617 he became Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, in 1618 he was appointed Lord Chancellor and on July 12, 1618 as Baron Verulam (also Baron Bacon of Verulam ) raised to hereditary peer . On January 27, 1621 he was raised to Viscount St. Albans .

A little later he was accused of bribery in connection with the disputed approval of budget funds. In this dispute Bacon represented the interests of the crown against the parliament, which set up a commission of inquiry to block further funds and to reclaim those already paid out. In this investigation, 27 witnesses were interviewed who accused Bacon of accepting funds. The court was unable to confirm any influence on the granting of funds to individuals. After confession and sentenced to a fine and imprisonment, he was banished from the court until his death. The sentence, at the discretion of the king, was only four days. The fine was never enforced.


Ruins of the family estate in Gorhambury

At the family seat in Gorhambury he devoted himself intensively to writing. As a statesman and parliamentarian, he had written to the court again and again. In 1597 he published a collection of political essays. The Advancement of Learning followed in 1605 , an unsuccessful attempt to find supporters for the change in science. In 1609 an analysis of classical Greek mythology appeared under the title On the Wisdom of the Ancients .

Some time later the well-known Novum Organum (1620) and The History of Henry VII. (1622) were created. Also in 1622 appeared Historia Ventorum and histora Vitae et Mortis , two scientific publications in which Bacon commented on wind phenomena and lectured ideas for a healthy, life-prolonging life. Finally, De Augmentis Scientiarum followed the reform idea of ​​the sciences in 1623 and a utopian story about The New Atlantis in 1624 .

On April 9, 1626, he died in Highgate (near London at the time) from the consequences of the only empirical experiment that he has survived: During the experiment to find out whether the shelf life of dead chickens could be extended by stuffing them with snow, he caught a cold and died little later pneumonia. He left a debt of £ 22,000.

When he died childless in 1626, his titles of nobility expired.

Bacon and Shakespeare

In 1856, Delia Bacon first claimed, and then repeated in her book The Philosophy of Shakespeare's Plays (1857), the earliest anti-Stratford monograph, that Bacon was the author of the Shakespeare works. She developed the view that a group of writers with Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh and Edmund Spenser hides behind the Shakespeare plays .

Constance Pott (1833–1915) supported a modified view; she founded the Francis Bacon Society in 1885 and published her Bacon-centered theory in 1891 under the title Francis Bacon and His Secret Society . The Bacon Society still supports the thesis that Bacon was the actual author of Shakespeare's works. This claim is rejected by the scientific Shakespeare research - as well as others about a different authorship of the Shakespeare works.



Title page of the encyclopedia Instauratio magna , London 1620

Francis Bacon's dual career as a philosopher and politician resulted in the fact that he wrote numerous philosophical, literary and legal writings, which, however, were not always published immediately. According to early political memoranda, i.a. for Queen Elizabeth, Bacon first published some of his "essays" in 1597.

As his two main works he himself saw De dignitate et augmentis scientiarum (On the dignity and progress of science), which can be called a first attempt at a universal encyclopedia, and " Novum organon scientiarum " (1620), the principles of a methodology of the sciences, at. De augmentis… is an expanded version of his earlier work Advancement of Learning (1605) and not only represents a systematic overview of the state of knowledge of his time, but also outlines future areas of scientific research. These two writings were only intended as part of a much larger work that Bacon planned but never completed.

In 1609 his - very popular - interpretation of ancient myths, Francisci Baconi De Sapientia Veterum Liber, appeared in London . He compares them with hieroglyphs or parables , the scientific core of which he wants to reveal and thus make it usable to expand the knowledge of his time. The historian and philosopher Kuno Fischer assumes that Bacon with his imaginative interpretations misses the real meaning of the myths, but the preoccupation with it was significant for Bacon's philosophy.

In around 1614 he wrote Nova Atlantis, a utopia with an impactful history , in which, among other things, he encouraged the establishment of scientific academies according to his ideas (unfinished - for the first time in print the year he died). He describes a temple on the island of Bensalem ( Son of Peace), where his treasures and his scientific ideas are kept and guarded by wise men who are scientists and priests in one person.

His essays (first published in 1597, a "longseller" that is still available from English booksellers without interruption), which were expanded from ten to 38 in 1612 and finally in the version of 1625 consisting of 58 articles, had a particular effect on his contemporaries entitled The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall; were summarized. Not only with the essays - Montaigne's essayes were probably the inspiration for the title - Bacon is also one of the most influential English writers of his time with other works ; Like no other, he understands how to combine the colourfulness of language with transparency, intellectual abundance with clarity. His pictorial language makes the objects he has discussed attractive and vivid. In connection with the clarity of his methodological awareness, this style is also an element of his unusual effect on contemporaries and posterity.

Bacon's secretary and estate administrator William Rawley (1588–1667) ensured that the many works that Bacon wrote but no longer published in the years after his dismissal from office and exile from London were published posthumously.

Bacon's scientific contributions

At Cambridge, studying various disciplines at the time, he came to the conclusion that both the methods used and the results obtained in the sciences were flawed. The current philosophy of scholasticism appears to him as dull, argumentative and wrong in its objectives. Philosophy needs a real purpose and new methods to enable new thinking and research, as well as socially relevant inventions as a result. "Because the benefits of the inventor can benefit the whole human race." (NO I, Aph. 129.)

Principles and experiments

Bacon is often quoted with the phrase “ knowledge is power ”. The related considerations can be found primarily in the first book of the “Novum Organum”. It was assumed - with a passage out of context - that what later largely determined natural science in the Enlightenment : he only focused on knowledge of nature as instruments of mastery of nature in the interest of progress . A broader view of Bacon's texts shows his intentions in a different light.

According to Bacon, humans can only rule nature if they know it and follow it. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to find "principles" or "principles" that can support thinking, to grasp connections between cause and effect in nature. These relationships should be checked in experiments, applied to new cases and possibly changed. "So it goes alternately uphill and downhill from the principles to doing and from doing to the principles." (NO I, Aph. 103)

At the time, this differentiated view was opposed by the principles of the scholastics, which were religiously motivated and dialectically and logically derived. They were assumed to be given - without an experimentally verified connection with the real nature of things - and used as the basis of scholastic science: Bacon considered this approach as a "method of anticipation" to be unsuitable for bringing about new things in the sciences.

Interpretation instead of anticipation

He contrasted the “method of anticipation ” with his “method of interpretations(true directions concerning the interpretation of nature) , which aims at the exact and thorough understanding of natural processes. The anticipatory method used up to now comes rashly with logical steps alone - based on individual cases and without thorough inclusion of further natural processes - to abstract concepts, and remains there. The new "method of interpretation" is based on various individual cases of nature and draws from them initial generalizations, so-called core sentences. These are again applied to other individual cases, which modify the first core sentences for the case of new facts. This method continues to be used in research.

It also necessitates submission to nature (scholastic scholars see themselves as divinely commissioned masters of nature in the biblical mandate): "natura parendo vincitur". (Nature is defeated by being guided by it.) To do this, scientists would have to get rid of the various types of prejudice that Bacon calls idols . Prejudices or idols cloud or falsify scientific perspectives without scientists noticing. Scientists gain real insight into the context of things without any illusions or prejudices. Such a type of research creates a real, real picture of nature that can be created over and over again - changed - under new circumstances.

The empirical method

In the first place, it is not enough to accept a conclusion obtained by induction and always look for new, confirming examples. Rather, the researcher has to examine the unexpected cases, the "negative instances" with particular care; these are the cases that prove an exception to a previously valid rule. For in philosophy a single counterexample is enough to refute the (allegedly already proven) truth of a conclusion (with which he formulated the principle of falsification ). The certainty of experience increases to the extent that it is possible to take unexpected experiences into account or to refute them. The examination of these “negative instances” is intended to prevent “frivolous assumptions”.

Robert Hooke and Robert Boyle, scientists at the beginning of the 17th century, are testing a self-developed pump for chemical experiments.

Second, Bacon is convinced that human knowledge increases or is cumulative. In doing so, he distanced himself from the view of the scholastics , who assumed that everything essential that man could know is already in the Holy Scriptures and in works recognized by the church - such as B. those of Aristotle - included. Therefore, facts were not checked by concrete observation, but supported by statements from such authorities. In De augmentis he already names numerous areas that could still be scientifically researched (including history of literature, history of diseases , commercial science ). The perfecting of our knowledge to ever greater degrees is a central goal that Bacon sets for scientific research, which is still relevant today; when he deals with this subject, his rhetoric reaches almost poetic heights.

Thirdly, as an opponent of subtle discussions that do not yield any new knowledge, he relies on in-depth observation of nature and experiment - in other words, empiricism. According to his opinion, mysterious creative beings (formae substantiales) or “spirits” should not be accepted as an explanation for physical processes, but only natural laws that are found through experiments and inductive conclusions. In doing so, (especially religious) conditions based on faith that lie outside of an experiment (fines) should be excluded for conclusions.

Fourth, scientifically useful observations must be repeatable. For this reason he is a staunch opponent of magical or cabalistic practices. For this very reason, Bacon is also critical of intuition : claims and opinions obtained intuitively or through conclusions by analogy do not belong to research that works systematically experimentally and gains knowledge from it. Methodologically, Bacon remains consistently true to experimental experience.

Questionable objectivity of research

Bacon's system of idols is modeled on Cicero's typology and his conception that we humans wear four types of “masks” ( behavior in contemporary scientific terminology ). There are acquired and innate prejudices; the latter are peculiar to the nature of the intellect. Bacon distinguishes four groups of these idols in the researcher:

  1. Idola Specus (cave illusions) he calls those idols that result from the "individual mental and physical characteristics, educational elements and habits". Bacon criticizes philosophical systems with references to the likes, dislikes, talents and weaknesses of their authors. He therefore advises self-criticism.
  2. Idola Theatri (illusions of theater / tradition) , errors from traditional, convincingly presented doctrines: “dogmas” or opinions of an authority that we believe without “questioning”. Bacon not only includes the uncritical attitude of the scholastics towards “the authorities”, but he also criticizes the more skeptical humanists in this context , insofar as they dogmatically distinguish between the humanities and the natural sciences and disregard the latter.
  3. Idola Fori (illusions of the stands / of the market) he calls those errors for which our linguistic usage is responsible. These idolas spring from the habit of putting words in the place of things: they confuse the conventional symbols for things with the things themselves, the market value with their real value - with which Bacon targets the “ realists ” this time . According to Hans-Joachim Störig, such “idola fori” or stereotyped terms arise “from contact and social intercourse between people. Language plays a special role here as the most important instrument of interpersonal intercourse. ”In these considerations, there are already aspects of a criticism of language and ideology as in modern philosophy and sociology.
  4. For Bacon, idola tribes (illusions of the genre) are flaws of our mind - the most difficult to recognize and avoid. The human species naturally tends to see and judge things and processes from a human perspective. Things of nature lose their peculiarity and would be influenced by the way of thinking or the affects of the researcher. An example for him is the human tendency to overemphasize sudden or extraordinary events.

With his criticism of the idola tribus, Bacon seems to be approaching Kant's critical philosophy . For Bacon, however, " nature " is not something unfathomable (transcendent), of which in the spirit only a human possible idea (transcendental) is generated, but something objective , the true essence of which human understanding can very well recognize - if it only succeeds in recognizing itself to free from the spell of deceptive images and conclusions.

Bacon in a historical context

Renaissance philosophy

In essence, Bacon followed a trend of the times with his idea of ​​starting from experience for the renewal of science. The difference to other Renaissance scholars resulted from the different meanings of experience. Bacon's experience is sensualistic and precludes any non-sensual experience.

An alchemist's laboratory

For Agrippa von Nettesheim, for example, a typical and well-read representative of the Renaissance sciences, experience, on the other hand, was a mixture of visible facts and associated, secret forces that worked invisibly, ie magically . Experience confirms that this is the case. In his three-volume work "De occulta philosophia" (On the secret sciences, 1510), which has been received for over 300 years, Nettesheim therefore naturally used common beliefs and experiences of the workings of these forces in order to explain natural phenomena.

The Renaissance philosopher Paracelsus combined his research with the speculative concept of an all-encompassing ensoulment of organic and inorganic. He too claimed to see the effect of this All-Soul confirmed in experience.

Criticism of Bacon

Bacon's criticism of empirical scientists of his time arose from his sensualistic approach. He rejected those who mixed scientific experience with superstition and theology. Such empirical scientists - such as B. also the alchemists of his time - caused great damage to the detriment of people. Philosophers like Paracelsus extinguished the “light of nature” and thus betrayed the “experience”, wrote Bacon. From his point of view, such empiricists even prevented new discoveries because they followed their desire for certainty and resorted to "head over heels ... to the ultimate reasons of things" instead of persevering in attempts to try out the very first principles.

Bacon, on the other hand, explained that the experience of magical powers or other speculative connections between natural phenomena are nothing more than anticipations ; H. Commonly shared erroneous assumptions (prejudices). The latter only served to create understanding between people. They are scientifically irrelevant, because these things are invisible and based solely on belief.

Bacon regards these erroneous assumptions, the idola, as the consequences of language acquisition in the family and in social contact with others. In social intercourse, words are acquired for things that cannot be perceived by the senses and unclear terms that people then cling to. The acquisition of a certain technical language in the course of studies and in the practice of the sciences also leads to erroneous assumptions and useless results. They should be dismantled through improved reflection, through a new logic that is based on the matter instead of the methodological guidelines of authorities such as Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas .

According to Feuerbach, the researcher could probably only come "as a child ... into the heavenly kingdom" of science, if one followed Bacon. To become a child, he added, a researcher has to free himself from all theories, prejudices and authorities.

According to Perez Zagorin , the study of these idols is Bacon's most important and most independent contribution to philosophy. Previous thinkers have so far only mentioned something like this in passing or not at all.


Bacon dominated the philosophy of experience after him, wrote Kuno Fischer . The naturalism of Hobbes' , the sensualism of Locke , the idealism of Berkeley and the skepticism of Hume were laid out in Bacon's philosophy and were shaped by these four philosophers in the course of a necessary historical development that relativizes their independent significance. The question of whether experience can answer all human questions is answered in the negative from Fischer's point of view.

Philosophers such as the Neo-Kantian Vorländer or the dialectician of the Weltgeist Hegel and their successors, like Fischer, assume that experience does not meet the philosophical requirements of a foundation of the sciences. In Bacon, Vorlander misses the a priori justification as provided by Kant and the mathematical justification as developed by Kepler and Galileo .

In Bacon's philosophy, Hegel lacks the speculative-abstract justification expected of him. “His practical writings,” he wrote about his reading of Bacon, “are particularly interesting; But you don't get great looks… ”.


Bernard Palissy in his workshop.

Autodidactic contributions to scientific and practical topics, especially by artists, can be documented as early as the 15th century. Among them were Ghiberti , Uccello , Piero della Francesca , Leonardo and Dürer . For their art theories, too, they basically assumed that pictorial ideas only developed through experience of nature.

It is possible that what the French Renaissance artist Bernard Palissy called experience in the 16th century corresponded to what Bacon imagined as experience. Even before Bacon's publications, like Leonardo, Palissy had declared his own experience and own thinking to be the maxim of optimizing his diverse knowledge and skills and published this idea - without any school or university training .

Palissy demonstrated his learning successes with the new, empirical method between 1575 and 1584 in front of educated representatives of Parisian society in well-attended lectures and discussions. Palissy and Bacon stayed in Paris at the same time for a number of years. It is therefore possible that they met and that the almost seventy-year-old Palissy inspired the sixteen-year-old Bacon during a lecture.


Overall assessments

Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St. Albans

The image of Francis Bacon that posterity has drawn is ambivalent: On the one hand, he is described as greedy and devious. Bacon's actions at times make him appear not only servile, but downright submissive to the respective ruler: for example in the trial against his former sponsor, the Earl of Essex (1601), or in the trial of 1621 against himself, in which he was Had pawn sacrifices made. On the other hand, his philosophical ideas show him as an independent thinker, one of the “intellectual founding fathers” of modern natural sciences, as a stimulus for unprejudiced experimental research.

This ambivalent picture can be found among others. at Hegel . Bacon, according to Hegel, was a man of spirit, clear-sighted and knowledgeable, in spite of "the corruption of his character". One could call him the “leader, authority and originator for experimental philosophizing”. However, he lacks the ability of a philosopher to speculate with abstract concepts and thoughts.

Manfred Buhr considers Bacon's ambiguous judgments to be the result of the erroneous belief that philosophizing is a "purely historical movement". Their social conditions are ignored. He describes Bacon as the "true ancestor of English materialism and all modern experimental science".

Wolfgang Krohn characterizes Bacon's philosophy as a philosophy of research . Bacon was convinced that the times of great philosophical systems were over. Only with experimental methods and new, unprejudiced interpretations of the results, the philosophical world knowledge can be advanced. His ideas became the guiding principles of the scientific movement in England in the mid-17th century. They can also be found in the founding of the scientific academies and societies in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Like Francis Bacon, at the turn of the 17th century, other representatives of the Renaissance also called for research based on experience: Galileo Galilei in Pisa , Venice and Florence , Johannes Kepler in Prague , Christoph Scheiner in Ingolstadt , William Gilbert and William Harvey in London (around to name just a few) made precise observations the starting point of their work.

For Voltaire , Bacon is “the father of experimental philosophy”, mention Horkheimer and Adorno. You yourself see in him the representative of an ' instrumental reason ' and thus of an enlightenment aimed primarily at mastering nature:

“[...] Despite his strangeness to mathematics, Bacon met the sentiments of the science that followed him well. [...] the mind that conquers superstition should rule over the disenchanted nature. "

- Horkheimer / Adorno : Dialectic of the Enlightenment. Amsterdam 1947, p. 14.

Today Bacon is - alongside Descartes - an empirical- rationalistic natural philosopher and scientific theorist and one of the founders of modern scientific methodology.

An Advertisement Controversy

A continuous feature of the reception history are not only statements about the ambivalence of Bacon's character. His state-political views are also occasionally assumed to be largely negative. The interpretations of his 1622 written signature on Advertisement Touching on Holy War ( notice on matters of a holy war .) - Four years after the Thirty Years' War had begun - claiming ambiguity and vagueness of Bacon's text with political cover. The question is: did Bacon advocate a holy war against Muslims?

In the text, Bacon describes a discussion between six people. The question is: can a holy war be justified, and how? The discussion also refers to concrete warfare in the past by Christians: i.a. on the Crusades, on the Inquisition and on the forcible establishment of Christianity. One participant in the group consistently addresses the need for a holy war. The question of justification is not answered by mutual agreement. The writing ends with explanations of individuals on their point of view.

Performers have speculated as to what position Bacon took on the question of a possible holy war. They came to different conclusions. J. Max Patrick believed that Bacon saw a holy war as a solution to domestic problems. Nabil Matar said that Bacon urged the Protestants to wage a holy war against the Muslims in order to destroy or convert them. Laurence Lampert, on the other hand, is of the opinion that Bacon is directed against any kind of religious fundamentalism. Robert K. Faulkner shares this view. Bacon is about the war of the Enlightenment against religion and ultimately - according to Faulkner - about the liberation of humanity from the fetters of religion.

Another even broader interpretation of this question comes from Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker. The two historians construct a connection between Bacon's advertisement and their intention to write a new story of the conquest of the Atlantic in the 17th century from the point of view of the oppressed and rebel. In doing so, they assume a “theory of monstrosity” to Bacon, which results from their hypothesis. As a result of this hypothesis, they use the advertisement as a consistent argument to support their interpretation. They claim Bacon suggested destroying West Indians, Canaanites, pirates, murderers, and Anabaptists. Result of their interpretation: In the struggle for the conquest of the Atlantic area between the mighty (Hercules) and the rebellion from below (Hydra), Bacon with his text sided with the mighty. In this way he created the intellectual basis for “its own semantics (like) ... submission, extermination, elimination, annihilation, liquidation, eradication, extinction”. (P. 14)

There have been convictions of Bacon in various other cases, such as the Earl of Essex trial or the indictment against himself. There are no justifying statements from him. As a possible comment by Bacon, one could use a remark from his essay On Followers and Friends : someone whose interpreters appreciate him because he “knows everyone's merit and worth” has the best interpreters.

See also


First editions and first translations

  • De dignitate et augmentis scientiarum or On the dignity and progress of science (1605)
  • De sapientia veterum. London 1609
  • Novum Organum scientiarum or Novum Organon (London 1620)
  • Instauratio magna (English: The Great Instauration ) (1620)
  • An Advertisement Touching an Holy War . London, 1622
  • History of the reign of Henry VII . London, 1622
  • Essays or Practical and Moral Advice (1597 and 1625)
  • Nova Atlantis (English: New Atlantis ) (1626)
  • Sylva sylvarum. London 1627
  • New organon. First German translation by GW Bartoldy, 2 volumes, Berlin 1793.
  • New organon. German translation by JH v. Kirchmann. Berlin, 1870.

Modern editions

  • The Works, 14 Vol. , Collected and edited by James Spedding, Robert Leslie Ellis and Douglas Denon Heath. London 1857-1874. Reprint: Frommann-Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1961, ISBN 978-3-7728-0023-8
  • The New Organon . German translation by R. Hoffmann and G. Korf, ed. by Manfred Buhr . Berlin / Leipzig 1962.
  • The Oxford Francis Bacon [OFB] , General Editors: Graham Rees and Lisa Jardine
  • (1996), vol. VI , ed. G. Rees: Philosophical Studies c. 1611-1619
  • (2000), vol. IV , ed. M. Kiernan: The Advancement of Learning
  • (2004), vol. XI , ed. G. Rees and M. Wakely: The Instauratio Magna: Part II. Novum Organum
  • (2000), vol. XIII , ed. G. Rees: The Instauratio magna: Last Writings
  • (2000), vol. XV , ed. M. Kiernan, The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall.
  • New organon. Latin-German, ed. by Wolfgang Krohn. 2 vols., Philosophical Library, Volumes 400a and 400b. Meiner, Hamburg 1990, ISBN 978-3-7873-0757-9 and ISBN 978-3-7873-0758-6
  • The Major Works , Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-19-284081-9 (inexpensive extensive selection)
  • New Atlantis , trans. by Günther Bugge, ed. by Jürgen Klein. Ditzingen 2003: Reclam, ISBN 3-15-006645-X
  • Essays or practical and moral advice , trans. by E. Schücking, ed. by LL Schücking, afterword by Jürgen Klein. Ditzingen: Reclam, 2005, ISBN 3-15-008358-3


Web links

Commons : Francis Bacon  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Francis Bacon  - Sources and full texts



Individual evidence

  1. ^ Matilda Betham: A biographical dictionary of the celebrated women of every age and country . B. Crosby and Co., London 1804 ( ).
  2. See the previous sections: Wolfgang Krohn. Francis Bacon . Pp. 15-18.
  3. Jürgen Klein: Francis Bacon . The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (Ed.), Biography section . Online text .
  4. Krohn, Francis Bacon , pp. 30-32. - Zagorin, Francis Bacon , pp. 16f.
  5. ^ Rictor Norton: "Sir Francis Bacon". The Great Queens of History, updated January 8, 2000 ( Memento of August 24, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  6. ^ William Arthur Shaw: The Knights of England. Volume 2, Sherratt and Hughes, London 1906, p. 114.
  7. ^ Linebaugh, Peter; Rediker, Marcus: The many-headed hydra. The hidden history of the revolutionary Atlantic . 2008, Berlin / Hamburg, p. 75
  8. ^ Nieves Mathews: Francis Bacon: The History of a Character Assassination . Yale University Press, New Haven / London 1996, ISBN 978-0-300-06441-4 , pp. 288 .
  9. See Jan Rothkamm: Institutio oratoria : Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Brill, Leiden 2009, p. 41.
  10. Wolfgang Krohn: Francis Bacon , pp. 53–56.
  11. Sabine Kalff: Political Medicine of the Early Modern Age . Berlin / Boston 2014, p. 253.
  12. ^ Francis Bacon
  13. Information on Mrs Henry Pott and Francis Bacon and His Secret Society (English).
  14. ^ Shakespeare & The Authorship Question. A fascinating ongoing problem, not a foregone conclusion.
  15. ^ Karl Vorländer: History of Philosophy . Volume 1, 5th edition, Leipzig 1919, p. 342. Online text
  16. Cf. Kuno Fischer: Franz Baco von Verulam. Real philosophy and its age . Leipzig 1856. pp. 171-181.
  17. Cf. Tino Licht: On the origin and tradition of the Nova Atlantis by Francis Bacon on the occasion of its new edition (Milan 1996). In Hermann Wiegand : Strenae nataliciae . Neo-Latin Studies Heidelberg 2006 pp. 113–126, ibs. 116f.
  18. Cf. Jürgen Klein : Epilogue to Francis Bacon: Essays . Ed. Levin L. Schücking. Stuttgart 2011, p. 215.
  19. Tino Licht: On the origin and tradition of the Nova Atlantis by Francis Bacon on the occasion of its new edition , p. 117.
  20. See for the preceding sections: Wolfgang Krohn: Francis Bacon . P. 95f.
  21. See Wolfgang Krohn: Francis Bacon . Pp. 98-100.
  22. Cf. Kuno Fischer : Franz Baco von Verulam. Leipzig 1856, p. 100.
  23. ^ Siegfried Gehrmann: Nature, Experience, Experiment. Francis Bacon and the Beginnings of Modern Science. ESSEN UNIKATE 16/2001, pp. 53–63 (PDF; 187 kB)
  24. Krohn: Francis Bacon, p. 108f.
  25. Hans-Joachim Störig: Small world history of philosophy , 1987, p. 306
  26. See for Bacon's doctrine of idols: Wolfgang Krohn: Francis Bacon . Pp. 100-115.
  27. Kuno Fischer: Francis Bacon and his successors: History of the development of the philosophy of experience , 2nd edition Leipzig 1875, pp. 512-514.
  28. ^ German edition under the title "The magical works of Agrippa von Nettesheim" (1855) as a PDF for download.
  29. ^ Paul Richard Blum : Pico della Mirandola and Agrippa von Nettesheim: From magic to science. In: Brockhaus, art and culture . Leipzig / Mannheim 1997.
  30. Johannes Hirschberger: History of Philosophy, Vol . II . Licensed edition by Herder-Verlag, Frechen, o. JS 23–29.
  31. Bacon, Novum Organum , §§ 63-69.
  32. Quoted in Ludwig Feuerbach : History of modern philosophy from Bacon to Spinoza . Leipzig 1976, p. 42. Online text
  33. Bacon: Novum Organum I , §§64,70.
  34. Bacon, Novum Organum I , §§ 26-30. - Jürgen Trabant : European language thinking: from Plato to Wittgenstein . Munich 2003, pp. 123–125.
  35. See Vorländer, History of Philosophy. Vol. 1 , p. 343 online text.
  36. Cf. Bacon: Novum Organum I , §§18,44. - Wolfgang Röd : The Philosophy of Modern Times I. From Francis Bacon to Spinoza . Munich 1999. pp. 25-28.
  37. Ludwig Feuerbach : History of modern philosophy from Bacon to Spinoza . Leipzig 1976, p. 46. Online text.
  38. Perez Zagorin: Francis Bacon . Princeton (USA) 1998, p. 82.
  39. Kuno Fischer: Francis Bacon and his successors: History of the development of the philosophy of experience , 2nd edition Leipzig 1875, pp. 509-516.
  40. ^ Karl Vorländer: History of Philosophy. Volume 1 , Leipzig 5th edition, 1919, p. 48.
  41. ^ Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Works in twenty volumes. Volume 20 , Frankfurt am Main 1979, p. 90. Online text.
  42. ^ Heinrich F. Plett (Ed.): Renaissance rhetoric . Berlin / New York 1993, pp. 273f.
  43. Alexander Bruno Hanschmann : Bernhard Palissy, the artist, natural scientist and writer . Leipzig 1903, pp. 51-55. PDF Download - Krohn, Francis Bacon , p. 18f.
  44. ^ Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Works in twenty volumes. Volume 20, Frankfurt am Main 1979, pp. 74-91; ibs. P. 91. Online text
  45. Cf. Manfred Buhr in the commentary on: Das neue Organon , p. VII.
  46. ^ Wolfgang Krohn: Francis Bacon . Pp. 9-14.
  47. Lettres philosophiques XII. OEuvres complètes. Ed. Garnier, Paris 1879, vol. XXII, p. 118, quoted from Max Horkheimer / Theodor W. Adorno: Dialektik der Aufklerung. Amsterdam 1947, p. 13.
  48. Werner Gerabek : Man - a machine? Notes on 18th Century Anthropology. In: Würzburger medical history reports 6, 1988, pp. 35–52; here: p. 38
  49. See also J. Boss: The medical philosophy of Francis Bacon (1561-1626). In: Med. Hypotheses. Volume 4, 1978, pp. 208-220.
  50. See Laurence Lampert: Nietzsche and Modern Times: A Study of Bacon, Descartes, and Nietzsche . New Haven / London 1993.
  51. Hawk.vs.Dove: Francis Bacon's Advocacy of Holy War. Studies in the Literary Imagination 4, no.1, April 1971, p. 168.
  52. ^ Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery . New York 1999.
  53. ^ Nietzsche and Modern Times: A Study of Bacon, Descartes, and Nietzsche . New Haven / London 1993.
  54. ^ Francis Bacon and the Project of Progress . Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Maryland / USA 1993.
  55. See the previous section: Brinda Charry: Martydom and Modernity: The Discours of Holy War in the Works of John Foxe and Francis Bacon . In: Sohail H. Hashmi (ed.): Just Wars, Holy Wars, and Jihads: Christian, Jewish and Muslim Encounters and Exchanges . New York 2012, pp. 167-189.
  56. Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker: The many-headed hydra. The hidden history of the revolutionary Atlantic . Berlin 2008.
  57. Linebaugh and Rediker, AOAO, pp 61-69, 91, 137, 341st
  58. David Armitage: Review: The Red Atlantic . In: Reviews in American History , Vol. 29, No. 4 (Dec., 2001), pp. 479-486.
  59. ^ Bacon: About followers and friends . In: Essays. Stuttgart 2005, pp. 165f.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on January 21, 2006 .