Holy Writ, Mythology, and the Foundations of Francis Bacon's Principle of the Constancy of Matter

in Early Science and Medicine
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Abstract

The exact nature of the relation between science and Scripture in the thought of Francis Bacon is a well-studied but controversial field. In this paper, it is shown that Bacon, though convinced that there exists no enmity between the book of God's wisdom (Holy Writ) and the book of God's power (nature), usually tries to separate knowledge acquired by reason (philosophy) from knowledge acquired by faith (divinity). In his exposition of the principle of the conservation of matter, however, Bacon seems to find himself constrained to invoke Scriptural truths in a manner that he usually disapproves of. In order to establish this principle, which is so essential to his overall scientific program, he appeals both to the Bible and Greek mythology in a way that points to certain conceptual tensions within his natural philosophy.

Holy Writ, Mythology, and the Foundations of Francis Bacon's Principle of the Constancy of Matter

in Early Science and Medicine

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