Francis Bacon's Advancement of Learning Research Paper

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(Aquinas 4).

Aquinas indeed illustrates, with what later theologians and philosophers would call far too much complexity (or certainty), the relationship between faith and reason -- a relationship that intensely shaped medieval scholastic thought -- and a relationship that by the twentieth century would find fewer and fewer followers -- as a result of the new system of thinking devised by the Baconian method.

Moreover, the philosophers that followed Bacon's Advancement give a key to the kind of world that Bacon was envisioning when he penned his treatise to the King of England: the next century would see the rise of Rousseau -- and the demise of old world values: for example, there is no hint in Rousseau of the filial duty such as Shakespeare writes about in King Lear. For Rousseau, voluntary filial devotion is merely a matter of convention and is nothing natural whatsoever. Rousseau advocates a self-centred, self-serving naturalism, in which self-preservation is the highest order, writing of man that

His first law is to provide for his own preservation, his first cares are those which he owes to himself; and, as soon as he reaches years of discretion, he is the sole judge of the proper means of preserving himself, and consequently becomes his own master (p. 14-15).

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And upon such a declaration, Rousseau erects his vision of political correctness, which is essentially an inversion of the Roman Catholic doctrine that informs, for example, de Tocqueville's perception of democracy -- which he illustrates in the 19th century.

TOPIC: Research Paper on Francis Bacon's Advancement of Learning Assignment

Bacon's Advancement of Learning is clearly apparent in Rousseau's Social Contract -- and in way the Social Contract may be said to be the child of Bacon's Advancement. As Bacon advocates pride and sophistry, Rousseau does also. Nothing, for example, could be more sophistic than Rousseau's propagation of the cause of slavery as cowardice. Slavery for Rousseau is convention: voluntary duty, whether to father or to State; freedom is throwing off the yoke of convention, and serving first and foremost neither father nor State, but Self. Such a rule is diametrically opposed to the spirit of Christian doctrine. Rousseau, however, justifies his rule by using a Christian analogy and extrapolating from it a whole new meaning, which, he notes is Hobbesian:

As a shepherd is of a nature superior to that of his flock, the shepherds of men, i.e., their rulers, are of a nature superior to that of the peoples under them. Thus, Philo tells us, the Emperor Caligula reasoned, concluding equally well either that kings were gods, or that men were beasts (p. 15).

Thus, Rousseau sets up a paradigm in which masters do not serve but rule, and employs the Emperor Caligula as his model.

However, Rousseau is not officially for such a paradigm. His ideal, rather, is that every man first be his own master and have no master but himself -- before exercising his part in the social compact. Therefore, in one fell swoop, slavery is abolished, as is the abusive rule of kings and princes. Rousseau, who claims that he himself is a descendent of an ancient royal lineage, is then free to act as he pleases, owing nothing to anyone, in so far as he is master of none.

In conclusion, all of this finds its origin in Bacon's Advancement of Learning -- for it is through this work for the King of England at the beginning of the 17th century that Bacon advances the ideology of the modern: adrift from the philosophy of the past, and asserting a new doctrine that is more like haphazard accumulation (empirical, of course) than it is reasonable and based on the intellect and logic.

Works Cited

Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. Trans. Fathers of the English Dominican

Province. Thomas Aquinas. Christian Classics Ethereal Library,1998. Web. 22

Feb 2011.

Bacon, Francis. The Advancement of Learning. (Stephen Jay Gould, ed.). NY: Modern

Library, 2001. (originally published in 1605). Print.

Jones, E. Michael. "English Ideology, Newton & the Exploitation of Science." Culture

Wars. 2010. Web. 17 Oct 2011.

"Robert Bellarmine: Letter on Galileo's Theories, 1615." Modern History Sourcebook,

Fordham University. Web. 17 Oct 2011.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Francis Bacon's Advancement of Learning.  (2011, October 17).  Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Francis Bacon's Advancement of Learning."  17 October 2011.  Web.  1 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Francis Bacon's Advancement of Learning."  October 17, 2011.  Accessed December 1, 2021.