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Who Wrote The Advancement of Learning?

English writer, scientist, philosopher, and politician Francis Bacon wrote a study called The Advancement of Learning. Bacon was born in London in 1561 to Sir Nicholas Bacon and Lady Anne Cooke Bacon and died in 1626. He went to school in Cambridge where he enrolled at Trinity College and then continued his studies in London at Gray’s Inn.

Bacon was the youngest son in a wealthy family, and he got his education up to the age of 12 from his very educated parents. Bacon’s mother was a scientist and translator, and she tried to pass on her Puritan beliefs to her children. At the time when Bacon was studying at Cambridge, Aristotle’s works had a great influence. Bacon disagreed with Aristotle’s views, which motivated him to take an interest in philosophy and create numerous scientific papers. At the age of 15, Bacon decided to become a lawyer like his father and spent those two years with the English ambassador to France gaining the necessary political and diplomatic knowledge and experience. After his father’s death, he returned to England, and, at the age of 18, he started working as a lawyer, which was a major turning point in Bacon’s life. Two years later, Bacon became a member of Parliament.

In his thirties, Bacon began to take an interest in writing. Bacon focused on how society should use science and knowledge. Unlike Aristotle, who used the deductive method in science, Bacon developed the inductive method, which involves rejecting hypotheses and theories, but moving directly from concrete facts to general rules. He believed in the results of experiments as the only means that could reveal the truth and give concrete facts. Bacon advocated an empirical method, that is, a method that emphasized that knowledge creates a practical experience based on scientific facts, which people arrive at through collected experiential observation.

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon

The Advancement of Learning Summary

The Advancement of Learning was written by Bacon in 1605. It is among his first studies and contains two parts. The first part contains information about learning in general and its importance in everyday life. The second part of the study is expanded and focuses on human knowledge and how it can be improved. “The Advancement of Learning” is the only Bacon study that was published in English in addition to Latin (like all his other works). In the second part of his study, Bacon offers a solution to overcome the lack of human knowledge through practice and to correct all errors in knowledge.

Bacon’s essay was dedicated to King James I, to highlight how important it is to use obvious facts, rather than reason or mere feelings when it comes to science. It was necessary to fund scientific research at the time, so the commitment of this King James I study motivated monarchs to provide funding for further work. Bacon made it clear that human progress was possible and that science could take humanity far.

Bacon had a great influence on the Renaissance because his studies (which emphasized the importance of experimenting to get to the truth and facts) represented an entry into an age of objective and rational research, learning, and ultimately research to get to the truth.

Part 1

In the first part of the essay The Advancement of Learning, Bacon talks about the progress of human and divine learning.

Bacon addresses King James I, offering him, as he puts it, an offer “better than some Treatise on the excellence of knowledge and learning.” Bacon addresses the king and points out to him the excellence of his personality, the virtues that other philosophers call intellect, and the amount of understanding God has given to the king.

Solomon points out that books can be written and published forever, and that excessive reading leads to physical fatigue. Bacon pointed out the mistake of thinking like this, and that knowledge can only give us a deeper understanding of good and bad. Bacon also emphasizes that lack of knowledge leads to atheism, and not the other way around, as it is claimed that knowledge and learning can bring a person back to religion. Bacon did not agree with Solomon’s view of knowledge, and that is why he made a distinction between pure and proud knowledge. According to Bacon, pure knowledge refers to good enough knowledge of the world in general, while proud knowledge refers to epistemological conceit.

Bacon claimed that it is a lie that learning leads people to be lazy because the very act of learning is sharing and constant movement. And constant movement can never be laziness.

Bacon speaks of the teachings of learned men, emphasizing that learned men erred because they placed the honor and well-being of their country, their people, and their masters above their needs and desires for wealth. He cites Martin Luther as the man who awakened antiquity and thus “awakened” the study of eloquence and led to a copy of the speech, where people were more concerned with phrases and words instead of matter.

Another error that arose from “the worship of the mind and the understanding of man.” Namely, this mistake led to the fact that people were conceited, that they took refuge from nature and the observation of experience. Bacon points out that people must reject speculation and empty doubts and stand up for solid evidence and facts because that alone is true knowledge.

Bacon points out that all teaching is acquired knowledge from God, and that we should seek knowledge in wisdom and reason, turning to religion and emphasizing that acquired knowledge is called wisdom and reason according to the scriptures. Bacon emphasizes that the acquisition of knowledge and the overcoming of ignorance appear primarily as a reflection of the savior, who demonstrated this power by meeting with doctors of law and priests. Many ancient bishops were highly educated people, priests also other church people. Bacon believes that there are two duties that people should fulfill according to faith and religion, and that is the exaltation of the glory of God and the service of God to protect themselves from evil, unbelief, and delusion.

Bacon talks about private and moral virtues. He believes that truth is the only security and that knowledge removes everything negative in the human mind (desire for evil, barbarism, savagery, insolence, and conceit). Knowledge requires the mind not to accept anything that has not been tested and verified. Learning helps a person get to where his body will not be able to in certain circumstances. Knowledge is the most incredible power and is higher than the commands for the will, with knowledge man surpasses the beast and enables him immortality, because knowledge remains in books, travels through time, and is eternally renewed and developed.

Part 2

The second part of the essay concerns the skill and advancement of divine and human teaching. Although he exalts the existence of Queen Elizabeth, considering it a “blessing of his time”, Bacon points out to the king that his existence is crucial for the further spread of knowledge. Bacon advocated with the king to organize a foundation for science and liberal arts, which were financially deprived, unlike professions in colleges in Europe. Bacon points out to the king the importance of funding his idea, to provide the necessary instruments for learning and experimentation. It is a big mistake for Bacon that universities make a gap between invention and memory, and one should include the other. He also considers the lack of mutual intelligence at European universities to be a major shortcoming, as it affects universal knowledge.

The second part of the book has sixteen chapters. In those chapters, Bacon points out that there are three parts to human learning, and they relate to the following understandings:

  • Understanding of poetry on human imagination
  • Understanding the history of human memory
  • Understanding philosophy on human reason

Bacon believed that the use of mechanical history was more important and radical according to natural philosophy and for the knowledge and well-being of man in general, and he considers that civil history is unfinished, perfect, or disturbed, that is, that history has types: memorial, perfect, antiques. Bacon talks about the fact that the history of the church and the history of the church have the same divisions — the history of the church in general, the history of providence, and the history of prophecy. Bacon believes that poetry is part of learning and that it is very desirable to a certain extent, because it encourages imagination, and imagination is an essential element of learning.

As far as philosophy is concerned, Bacon states that there are three types of knowledge, namely natural philosophy, human philosophy, and divine philosophy.

In the second part of his essay, Bacon emphasizes the part of natural philosophy that affects the way of getting to know the universe, which is mathematics. He emphasizes that mathematics is pure or mixed, as well as that knowledge is pure and proud, distinguishing between these two comparisons. Pure mathematics implies sciences that are separated from natural philosophy, namely arithmetic, and geometry. There are parts of the universe that cannot be invented sufficiently insightfully or subtly unless architecture, astronomy, perspective, or music help in this.

Bacon discusses the shortcomings of medicine as a science, considering that it is a science that is “more professed than practiced.” He claims that medicine does not advance, and that anatomy does not examine its various parts and their substances. Bacon sees medicine as a very good science, but that doctors do not do their job as they should and make a kind of religion to be with the patient while he is in pain, instead of preventing the disease and pain from spreading.

Bacon talked about general knowledge, transitive knowledge that is passed on to others, the fact that denial is sovereign, and he talked about memory that is generally poorly investigated.

Analysis of The Advancement of Learning

The Advancement of Learning is an essay that introduces the empirical method as the most crucial segment of science and human knowledge in general. Bacon wants to highlight the importance of questioning, studying, and acquiring knowledge by gathering scientific facts and experiential observation. Bacon believes that the king’s funding of his idea would contribute to deepening the ways of knowing the sciences. Bacon believes that it is pointless to read other people’s works and thus gain knowledge and that the empirical method would provide completely new and different insights and would provide people with new ways of knowing.

Bacon tries to rationalize the contribution of the empirical method and the role of mathematics as a science that would help understand the universe. Since the publication of Bacon’s essay, the empirical method has become the basis of science and the only true knowledge that involves objective observation.

Lesson Summary

The Advancement of Learning is a book written by Francis Bacon, an English writer, scientist, philosopher, and politician. “The Advancement of Learning” was published in 1605 and contains two parts. Bacon advocates an empirical method, that is, a method that emphasizes that knowledge creates a practical experience based on scientific facts, which people arrive at through collected experiential observation.

In his book, Bacon turns to King James I, to support Bacon’s empirical method and to financially support scientific research. The first part contains information about learning in general and its importance in everyday life. The second part of the study is expanded and focuses on human knowledge and how it can be improved. Bacon emphasizes the part of natural philosophy that affects the way of getting to know the universe, which is mathematics. Bacon made a distinction between pure and proud knowledge. Pure knowledge refers to good and enough knowledge of the world in general, while proud knowledge refers to epistemological conceit.

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