"Preface" to Novum Organum Bacon, Francis (1620)

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"Preface" to Novum Organum
Francis Bacon (1620)

URL: http://history.hanover.edu/texts/Bacon/novpref.html

SITE SUMMARY: This writing, translated by Basil Montagne in 1854, is the Preface to the second part of the three volumes of Bacon's work known as Novum Organum, or The Works: True Suggestions for the Interpretation of Nature. It is provided by the Hanover Internet Project and features Bacon's revealing new and basic scientific principles that are actually the foundation of scientific thinking. It is said that this work and its principles are a basic reason for the establishment of the Royal Society, the first scientific organization.


  1. See paragraph two, noting the last third of it as the main point. What did Bacon say about a process of the mind, and things on "matters intellectual"? To what did he compare logic, and how did he view this comparison? Do you agree with what he said on the subjects referred to in his comments on "matters intellectual" and logic? Why or why not? Provide your own example using his metaphor.
  2. Read paragraphs five and six. What are the two things regarding science did Bacon say there should be? Which one did he prefer, and why?
  3. Read paragraph five, noting sentence four as the main point. What did Bacon advocate as he opposed "specious opinions"? What, then, did he say, should one do, "as a true son of science," and what would happen if one did this, according to Bacon? What are the "names" he referred to, and, with you indicating two reasons, why did he say they are important?
  4. See paragraph seven. Which three ways were used by people who, according to Bacon, wanted to form an opinion of his and other scientists' work? What should such people, according to Bacon, not hope they can do as they form an opinion? What are three other things that Bacon suggested these people should do or attempt instead? What, then, would be corrected, and how? What, finally, could happen to such people?


Francis Bacon, 1561 to 1626 at Hyper History Timeline

http://www.hyperhistory.com (click Hyper History Online link, then People link)

After selecting the years 1000 to 1500, find and click Francis Bacon in the blue name box in the timeline. Read the brief biography with the comment that he advocated "action science," and see the note on two of his writings, plus the link to his essays (e.g., "Of Gardens").

Sir Francis Bacon's New Advancement of Learning


This site, dedicated to "exploring the many facets of Bacon," has a box of icons with a map of 1601 London in the background. Icon links include books that lead to a library that is an annotated bibliography of writings by and about Bacon, with links to many of them. Note, for example, his The Advancement of Learning (1605), identified as "the first description of science as a tool to improve the human condition"; and The Sylva Sylvarum or A Natural History in Ten Centuries (1627), plus essays (including "Of Gardens"), and The New Atlantis (which refers, as in paragraphs thirty-four and thirty-five, to a place called Solomon's House, now said to be a fictional representation of what would become the Royal Society). In the second part of the bibliography, see Henry Wheeler's 1999 work Francis Bacon's "Verulamium": The Common Law Template of the Modern in English Science and Culture; and, via a search for Royal Society in a search box below the map on the main page, find Noel Fermor's 1961 work The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Science to find out about Bacon's influence on the organization. On the main page's map see also the icons for a newsletter, a forum, biographical data, and links.

Commentary on Novum Organum


Bacon, Francis, First Baron "Verulum"


This site describes Bacon's writings and life. It refers to his theories of scientific method and classification, plus writings that anticipated a true science. (See more data at www.xrefer.com/entry/551377, e.g., on his inspiring the foundation of the Royal Society.)

Francis Bacon and the Royal Society


This site's subject is "the foundation of the Philosophical Society in 1645 under the impetus of Francis Bacon, and its later development under the Royal Charter (1662) as the Royal Society" being "one of the most important developments in the history of science." There are illustrations of pages from the long published Society Transactions which, as the site writer claims, is evidence of the Royal Society's long time importance.

Francis Bacon—Life Outline


This site was established by Richard S. Westfall, History Department, Indiana University. Note especially data on Bacon's education and scientific disciplines.

Lady Bacon


This site features data about, and quotations from the writings of, scholar Anne Cooke Bacon, Francis Bacon's mother. Quotes include advice she wrote to him in letters.

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"Preface" to Novum Organum Bacon, Francis (1620)

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"Preface" to Novum Organum Bacon, Francis (1620)