Preparative toward a Natural and Experimental History
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, 22 January 1561 - 9 April 1626, was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, and author. He served both as Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of England. After his death, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution.
Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. His works argued for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only upon inductive and careful observation of events in nature. Most importantly, he argued this could be achieved by use of a sceptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves. While his own practical ideas about such a method, the Baconian method, did not have a long lasting influence, the general idea of the importance and possibility of a sceptical methodology makes Bacon the father of scientific method. This marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, the practical details of which are still central in debates about science and methodology today.
My object in publishing my Instauration by parts is that some portion of it may be put out of peril. A similar reason induces me to subjoin here another small portion of the work, and to publish it along with that which has just been set forth. This is the description and delineation of a natural and experimental history, such as may serve to build philosophy upon, and containing material true and copious and aptly digested for the work of the interpreter which follows. The proper place for it would be when I come in due course to the "Preparatives" of Inquiry. I have thought it better, however, to introduce it at once without waiting for that. For a history of this kind, such as I conceive and shall presently describe, is a thing of very great size and cannot be executed without great labor and expense, requiring as it does many people to help, and being (as I have said elsewhere) a kind of royal work. It occurs to me, therefore, that it may not be amiss to try if there be any others who will take these matters in hand, so that while I go on with the completion of my original design, this part which is so manifold and laborious may even during my life (if it so please the Divine Majesty) be prepared and set forth, others applying themselves diligently to it along with me; the rather because my own strength (if I should have no one to help me) is hardly equal to such a province.
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