Bacon’s New Magic: The Transfigured Aim of the Sciences
The epochal world-historical significance of Sir. Francis Bacon does not lie principally in an original production of a method for the scientific revolution. The inductive method was already known since the time of Aristotle. His originality rather in providing a new aim for the sciences. Aristotle had conceived of the highest science – metaphysics – as also the least useful. The value of wisdom is intrinsic. For Bacon science takes on the same aim as magic – human power and manipulation over the natural order. The tradition of magic however he regards much like Greek philosophy as fruitless. Bacon’s achievement then was to marry the utilitarian, power centered goals of magic to a systematic method. In so doing Bacon laid the foundation of the modern technological project. This also had effect of overturning the classical hierarchy which subordinated the mechanical arts to the liberal arts.
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