Bacon's metaphysical method

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Abstract

In this paper, I would like to examine the method that Bacon proposes in Novum organum II.1-20 and illustrates with the example of the procedure for discovering the form of heat. One might think of a scientific method as a general schema for research into nature, one that can, in principle, be used independently of the particular conception of the natural world which one adopts, and independently of the particular scientific domain with which one is concerned. Indeed, Bacon himself suggested that as with logic, his method, or as he calls it there his “system of interpreting” is widely applicable to any domain, and not just to natural philosophy. [Novum organum I.127] Now, recent studies of Bacon have emphasized his own natural philosophical commitments, and the underlying conception of nature that runs through his writings. In my essay I argue that the method Bacon illustrates in Novum organum II is deeply connected to this underlying view of nature: far from being a neutral procedure for decoding nature, Bacon's method is a tool for filling out the details of a natural philosophy built along the broad outlines of the Baconian world view.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-37
Number of pages16
JournalEpistemology and Philosophy of Science
Volume58
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Philosophy
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Keywords

  • Experiment
  • Francis Bacon
  • Induction
  • Karl Popper
  • Method
  • Methodological a priori
  • Natural history

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