Francis Bacon's The Advancement of Learning


Francis Bacon's The Advancement of Learning


Francis Bacon was a natural philosopher from England who introduced the scientific method through two publications, The Advancement of Learning and Novum Organum. To him, the basis of natural philosophy could be found in observation (Wiesner-Hanks, 374). His scientific method involved the formulation of a hypothesis, multiple tests, and the establishment of a conclusion that would then be repeatedly tested.

Bacon’s life and work demonstrate the nonlinear development of science during the Scientific Revolution. Bacon was still a champion of alchemy, and many of his colleagues thought as he did. However, the shift from alchemy to chemistry came gradually, as “by the eighteenth century, those who experimented on the natural world tended to define forces or substances they could not see in material rather than spiritual or mystical terms” (Wiesner-Hanks, 375). Certainly, while Bacon’s alchemical ideas did not stand the test of time, his scientific method did.

One common theme of the Scientific Revolution was the idea that science could be used to benefit society, and thus deserved funding directly from the monarchy. Bacon took this stance, as did Antoine Lavoisier, a chemist who performed many of his experiments on topics he thought would better serve the populace, such as agriculture and the military (Wiesner-Hanks, 375). In this way, the underpinnings of Bacon’s literature developed throughout the late 1700s, and natural philosophy made way for science as we understand it with the further development of the scientific method.


Francis Bacon


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Wiesner-Hanks, Merry. Early Modern Europe: 1450-1789. Cambridge University Press, 2013. Print.




Cassidy Bins


Public domain.


Francis Bacon, “Francis Bacon's The Advancement of Learning,” HIST 139 - Early Modern Europe, accessed March 25, 2023,

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