Naukowa apokalipsa Francisa Bacona

26 wrz. 2009


Very little has been said about Bacon's apocalypticism, or his religious disposition in general, but given Bacon's influence on later generations of thinkers, and particularly on the development of early modern science, this aspect of Bacon's writings bears real consideration. The development of scientific method was, for Bacon, a fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy which would reestablish the conditions of earthly paradise. Prior to the events of 1620 leading to his impeachment, Francis Bacon regarded Britain as the land of promise, and his generation as the first in a glorious scientific age when pain and suffering would be overcome. This was to be the "instauration," or restoration of man's Edenic mastery over nature. However, Bacon's fall from worldly grace led to significant modifications in his philosophical and scientific writings. After the impeachment Bacon could no longer rely upon the patronage of King James for his program of Instauration. Neither was Britain necessarily the land of the fulfillment of apocalyptic promise, at least in his lifetime. The timetable for the restoration of man's mastery over nature was lengthened considerably. God now played a much stronger role in bringing the Instauration to be (new obstacles had to be removed that would require divine intervention), but the degree to which prelapsarian perfection could be recovered in this world remained as great as it was before Bacon's own political demise. Bacon's faith in the inevitability of scientific progress remained unshaken. This essay concludes with the suggestion that the pattern of thinking established by Bacon's archetypal mutation from an imminent apocalyptic fulfillment to an eventual Utopia has left a strong mark on popular images and expectations of science down to our present day.