The Nature and Care of the Whole Man: Francis Bacon and Some Late Renaissance Contexts


In: Early Science and Medicine

In the early seventeenth century Francis Bacon called for the institution of a distinct field of theoretical and practical knowledge that would deal with the tight interrelationship between the mind and the body of man, which he dubbed “the inquirie tovching hvmane natvre entyre” (Advancement of Learning, Book II). According to Bacon, such knowledge was already in existence, but unfortunately scattered in medical and religious texts. As a remedy, he proposed an integrated and autonomous account that would constitute “one general science concerning the Nature and State of Man” (De augmentis scientiarum, Book IV). Such an account would concern itself with both the nature of the bond (vinculum) between mind and body (ibid.) and with the medical-religious care of man in his entirety. My purpose here is to identify a number of late Renaissance contexts that flagged a comparable type of preoccupation with the nature andcare of the ‘whole man’ from a perspective that similarly strove to combine philosophy, medicine and theology.


  • 7

     Telesio, De rerum natura, 178; Doni, De natura hominis, 122-3.

  • 10

     Bacon, SEH IV 398, 401; Telesio, De rerum natura, 180; Doni, De natura hominis, chapters 4 and 5.

  • 16

     Galen, “The Soul’s Dependence on the Body,” in Selected Works, ed. P.N. Singer (Oxford, 1997), 150-76, at 168; Quod animi mores corporis temperamenta sequantur, in Medicorum graecorum opera, ed. C.G. Kühn, vol. 4 (Leipzig, 1822), 767-822, at 806.

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  • 18

     Galen, “Soul’s Dependence,” 155, 158; Quod animi mores, 779, 785.

  • 19

     Galen, “Soul’s Dependence,” 158, 153; Quod animi mores, 785, 775.

  • 24

     Huarte, Examination, 20.

  • 40

     Lemnius, Secret Miracles, 296; De miraculis,479: Siquidem ob arctissimam vtriusque partis cognationem & consensum, animi vitia redundant in corpus, corporis vero morbi in animum mentemque transferuntur. Compare Erasmus: Siquidem propter arctissimam amborum inter se cognationem et copulam, ut animi vitia redundant in corpus, ita vicissim corporis morbi animae vigorem aut impediunt, aut etiam extinguunt (Encomium, 170).

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  • 43

     Lemnius, Secret Miracles, 48; De miraculis,84.

  • 46

     Lemnius, Secret Miracles, 61-2; see also Touchstone of Complexions.

  • 47

     Lemnius, Secret Miracles, 61; De miraculis,106.

  • 48

     Lemnius, Secret Miracles, 90; De miraculis,151.

  • 49

     Lemnius, Secret Miracles, 36; De miraculis,63.

  • 50

     Lemnius, Secret Miracles, 36; also 50, 91.

  • 61

     Erasmus, “Oration,” 42; Bacon, De augmentis scientiarum, SEH IV 379.

  • 63

     Lemnius, Secret Miracles, 296.

  • 79

     Nemesius, Nature of Man, 80-2.

  • 80

     Woolton, Treatise, 12v.

  • 82

     Nemesius, Nature of Man, 75, 80; Libri Octo, fols. 12r, 13r.

  • 85

     Woolton, Treatise, 30v.

  • 86

     La Primaudaye, French Academie, 132; Académie françoise, 79v.

  • 87

     La Primaudaye, French Academie, 230.

  • 89

     La Primaudaye, French Academie, 235.

  • 90

     La Primaudaye, French Academie, 435.

  • 96

     Lemnius, Secret Miracles, 40; Woolton, Treatise, 15r-16r; Du Laurens, Discourse, 81; Bright, Treatise, 184 ff.; La Primaudaye, French Academy, 229-30.

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  • 97

     Nemesius, Nature of Man, 64; Fox-Morcillo, De naturae philosophia, V.2, 156v; La Primaudaye, French Academie, 242; Du Laurens, Discourse, 83-4; Della Porta, De humana physiognomonia, Prooemivm.

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