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Bacon’s Brotherhood And Its Classical Sources: Producing And Communicating Knowledge In The Project Of The Great Instauration

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Chapter Summary

This paper argues that the three kinds of mechanics play distinct but integrated roles in Bacon's 'Great Instauration': (I) the mechanics of the artisan, (ii) experientia literata, and (iii) ?philosophical mechanics?. It is helpful at the outset to clarify certain terms. Although Rossi is certainly correct that Bacon considered the mechanical arts 'capable of revealing the actual processes of nature,' his generalised historical overview blurs the significance of inquisitional specifics. The chapter argues that natural-philosophical themes explain the role of mechanics in Baconian inquiry. Before looking in detail at the role of mechanics in Bacon's programme, it gives a brief overview of central themes that constitute the natural-philosophical foundations of Baconian inquiry. Finally, it illustrates how natural philosophy coheres perfectly with Bacon's inquiry and how, on the basis of Baconian matter, true invention is possible.

Keywords: artisan; Baconian inquiry; experientia literata; Francis Bacon; Great Instauration; mechanical arts; natural-philosophical themes; Paolo Rossi; philosophical mechanics; true invention



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