Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bacon's Theory of Induction as Presented in the Novum Organum Part 1 of 2

Objectivists tend to be very favorable to the views of philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626), particularly his often used quotes that "knowledge is power," and "nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed." My purpose here is to give us all yet another reason why we should appreciate and study Bacon: his theory of induction. Bacon's ultimate aim in life was to show us all the relation between knowledge and human power, between reason and human survival, and between scientific thought and the wealth of nations. The most important part of this project was his articulation of a new theory of inductive thinking—of forming generalizations from the particulars of experience—which he propounded in his 1620 work the Novum Organum, or "New Instrument." After we examine the contents of this monumental book, the reader may come to see why he's been widely regarded as a father of modern science.

Bacon's Theory of Induction as Presented in the Novum Organum, Part 2 of 2

Book II

Human Power and Human Knowledge
On a given body to generate and superinduce a new nature or new natures, is the work and aim of Human Power. Of a given nature to discover the form, or true specific difference, or nature-engendering nature, or source of emanation (for these are the terms which come nearest to a description of the thing), is the work and aim of Human Knowledge. (Bacon, Novum Organum, Book II, Aphorism 1)