The Advancement of Learning is a splendid attempt to defend and magnify the pursuit of learning and then to survey the existing state of human knowledge. Part of the argument of the first part has lost its cogency, or even its relevancy, today. But in breadth of view and fertility of suggestion the work is extraordinary. As a statement of intellectual ideals, and a program, or even a prophecy, of their accomplishment, it stands among the most significant productions of the Renaissance.
This is the annotated edition including more than 600 notes.
The 'New Atlantis', first published in 1627, but probably written between 1622 and 1624, is a fragmentary sketch of an ideal commonwealth, and in particular of an ideal "palace of invention" called "Solomon's House,"—a great establishment of scientific research such as Bacon longed to see founded. The book, which expresses the idealistic spirit of the Renaissance, shows Bacon at his best. The description of Solomon's house is said to have led to the establishment of the Royal Society.
Bacon published this interesting little work in 1609. It contains thirty-one fables abounding with a union of deep thought and poetic beauty. In most fables he explains the common but erroneous supposition that knowledge and the conformity of the will, knowing and acting, are convertible terms.
The 'Novum Organum,' in the shape in which its author left it, is only a fragment of the larger work which Bacon contemplated under that title, as adequately representing the second part of the 'Great Instauration.' Nevertheless, though only a fragment, the 'Novum Organum,' and especially the first book, is the most carefully written of all Bacon's philosophical works. Moreover, as describing the new method of which the renovation of knowledge was to be the result, it is the keystone of the entire system.
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