Francis Bacon's philosophy of science: Machina intellectus and forma indita

Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1137-1148 (2003)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Francis Bacon (15611626) wrote that good scientists are not like ants (mindlessly gathering data) or spiders (spinning empty theories). Instead, they are like bees, transforming nature into a nourishing product. This essay examines Bacon's "middle way" by elucidating the means he proposes to turn experience and insight into understanding. The human intellect relies on "machines" to extend perceptual limits, check impulsive imaginations, and reveal nature's latent causal structure, or "forms." This constructivist interpretation is not intended to supplant inductivist or experimentalist interpretations, but is designed to explicate Bacon's account of science as a collaborative project with several interdependent methodological goals.

Similar books and articles

Philosophical studies, c. 1611-c. 1619.Francis Bacon - 1996 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Graham Rees.
The advancement of learning.Francis Bacon - 1851 - New York: Modern Library. Edited by G. W. Kitchin.
The Instauratio Magna: Last Writings.Francis Bacon - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Graham Rees & Maria Wakely.
Francis Bacon's forms and the logic of ramist conversion.Angus Fletcher - 2005 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 43 (2):157-169.


Added to PP

372 (#56,330)

6 months
81 (#63,151)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Madeline M. Muntersbjorn
University of Toledo

References found in this work

The Logic of Scientific Discovery.Karl Popper - 1959 - Studia Logica 9:262-265.
Novum Organum.Francis Bacon, Peter Urbach & John Gibson - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):125-128.

Add more references