Francis Bacon's Only Flaw Was that He Was Not Revolutionary

We do not know what we should admire the most, his rich intuitive views on all subjects or the dignified tone of his style. His writings can be compared only with those of Hippocrates on medicine; and they would be neither less admired nor less read if the cultivation of the mind were as dear to the human race as the conservation of health. But only the writings of leading sectarians can achieve a certain vogue; Bacon was not one of them, and his philosophic method was opposed to this: it was too judicious to astonish anyone. Scholasticism, which prevailed at that time, could only be overthrown by bold and new opinions; and it was not likely that a philosopher satisfied with saying to men: “Here is the little bit that you have learned; this is what remains to be investigated,” was destined to make a great stir with his contemporaries. We would even venture to reproach Chancellor Bacon for having been perhaps too timid, if we did not know that prudence and in a way even devotion must be exercised in judging such a sublime genius. Although he acknowledges that the scholastics emasculated the sciences with their trifling questions, and that the mind must sacrifice the study of general things for the investigation of particular objects, it nevertheless seems that by the frequent use he made of medieval terms, sometimes even of scholastic principles, as well as the divisions and subdivisions which were then quite fashionable, that he showed a little too much caution and deference to the dominant taste of his century. This great man, after having destroyed so many fetters, was still held back by chains which he was unable or did not dare to break.


He was too dignified, his philosophy to straightforward to make waves in culture, but his simple idea to look at nature for what it is was a revolutionary idea.

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 The Human Mind Emerged from Barbarism
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book Chapter:  d'Alembert, Jean Le Rond (1751), The Human Mind Emerged from Barbarism, Retrieved on 2011-05-30
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  • Folksonomies: enlightenment philosophes