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Unit IV Lecture III – March 6.docx

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Philosophy 2006
Sean Coughlin

Unit IV Lecture III – March 6, 2012 Francis Bacon Francis Bacon: The Great Instauration – 2 Main Themes  1) Limits on human reason [not direct realism, but the 4 idols]  2) Proper procedure in science [not Aristotelian demonstration or syllogistics, but empiricism] Bacon’s Project  [The Problem]  What method do we use to understand the natural world? What method should we use?  First, Bacon thinks we need to ask a prior question: What is the goal of science? o For Scholastics, Renaissance Humanists, aim was arguments and to defeat your opponent in a debate o Bacon believes aim of science to be arts or technical skills and technology to improve human kind—to “command nature in action” o He thinks we must set out to seek the principles of nature o Must not search for probable reasons in accordance with the principle of Aristotelian science, but the technical application of them o Goal is “Great Instauration” of a working science that will provide us with the ability to command the natural world and use it for our benefit Recall Aristotelian Cosmology  Cosmos is a unity – it is finite and continuous  All beings in the cosmos form a hierarchical “chain of being” – God at the top, inanimate matter at the bottom  Heavenly bodies move in perfect circles around a static Earth  Cosmos is eternal and uncreated Recall Aristotelian Epistemology – The 4 Causes  When we want to explain what a thing is, we are explaining why some matter has some attribute  1) Material Cause: the matter out of which something is made. o Ex: Material cause of a house is bricks and timber.  2) Formal Cause: the form, shape, or function that matter has. o Ex: Formal cause of a house is a certain shape, namely bricks built into walls with a roof on top.  3) Efficient Cause: the agent that made the matter have that form. o Ex: Efficient cause of a house is the carpenter.  4) Final Cause: the purpose or end or goal of the thing. o Ex: Final cause of the house is to shelter/protect us from the elements. Recall Aristotelian Metaphysics – Hylomorphism  2 main kinds of things in the world  form and matter These cannot exist independently  Together, they form substances  EVERYTHING is composed of form and matter  Matter is continuous and uniform o Properties of matter are determined by form and qualities  Some qualities are powers to do things – agents  Powers for some goal  Operate telologically  Some qualities are hidden/occult Recall Aristotelian Physics  All change is change from a state of privation to form  All change is from potentiality to actuality  All change involves an agent which acts and a patient which is acted upon o The agent in a living thing is it’s soul o These agents are not changed when they act – account for stability and regularity of all natural change Recall Aristotelian Methodology  How do we investigate the natural world?  [Following Plato] On the assumption that this IS the best possible world, what sorts of features would we expect it to have? o We begin with certain principle or hypotheses and attempt to derive ot
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