KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

How Magic, the Government and an Apocalyptic Vision inspired Francis Bacon to create Modern Science

________________

 

by
John Henry
who is a lecturer in Science Studies at Edinburgh University. His interests lie in the history of interactions between science, medicine, magic and religion in the Renaissance. He is the author of Moving Heaven and Earth : Copernicus and the Solar System (2001) and has also illustrated a book on darts

 

published by Icon Books UK 2002
www.iconbooks.co.uk
published in the US by Totem Books 2003


Francis Bacon never made a major discovery, provided a lasting explanation of any physical phenomona or revealed any hidden laws of nature. How then can he rank alongside the likes of Isaac Newton-one of the finest scientists of them all?
In this fascinating and accessible book, John Henry gives a dramatic account of the background to Bacon's innovations and the sometimes unconventional sources for his ideas. He explains how magic, civil service bureaucracy and the belief in a forthcoming apocalypse came together in the creation of Bacon's legacy, why he was so concerned to revolutionise the attitude to scientific knowledge-and why his ideas for reform still resonate today.
_____________
"For my way of discovering sciences goes far to level men's wits, and leaves but little to individual excellence; because it performs everything by the surest rules and demonstrations.'-Francis Bacon
CONTENTS

1.'Kindling a Light in Nature'

1

2. Inventing Modern Science

5

3. 'Believing That I was Born For the Service of Mankind'

13

4. Believing of All Men of My Time the Most Busied in Affairs of State'

25

5.'Enlarging of the Bounds of Human Empire': Bacon and Magic

42

6. 'Effecting of All Things Possible': Magic and the Experimental Method

54

7. 'Seeking for Experiments of Light': Bacon and the Decline of Magic

68

8. Separating Science and Religion?

82

9. Restoring Lost Dominion : Bacon and the Millennium

93

10. Building a Model of the World : Bacon and Utopia

104

11. Writing Philosophy Like a Lord Chancellor: Bacon and the Bureaucracy of Science

117

12. Extending the Empire of Man? Bacon, the Law and Mother Nature

133

13. Leaving It to the Next Ages

141

14. Waiting for the Harvest?

161

Glossary

166

Further Reading

174

Notes

177

Other science titles available from Icon/Totem Books

178


Here's a Book Review by David Hurley

****