Compare Bacon And Descartes Essay

742 words - 3 pages

Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes blazoned the advent of a scientific civilization. Both men ridiculed earlier methods of seeking knowledge, that were once used in the academic traditions of the universities founded in the Middle Ages. Both men published between 1620 and 1640 and held to the belief that Medieval or Aristotelian methods were retrograding and worthless. Through their works they stressed that truth was something we find at the end, after a long process of investigation, experiment, or intermediate thought. Although their programs differed they both became pioneers in the field of scientific knowledge. Francis Bacon called for a complete new start in science and ...view middle of the document...

Bacon's greatest weakness was his lack of an understanding of the role of mathematics. It was later discovered that truly scientific reasoning depended on the degree to which it could be mathematical. The scientific method itself used both deductive and inductive reasoning. Rene Descartes was a superb mathematician and was considered the inventor of coordinate geometry. He showed that any algebraic formula could be plotted as a curve in space while any curve in space could also be converted into algebraic terms. Descartes set forth his ideas in his Discourse on Method in 1637. He reflected the doubt and confusion that was pervasive in the seventeenth century yet advanced a philosophy that dominated thought for centuries to come. He advanced the principle of systematic doubt. He arrived at a philosophy of dualism, the famous "Cartesian dualism," which held that god had created two kinds of fundamental reality in the universe. One was "thinking substance" (mind, spirit, consciousness, subjective experience). The other was "extended substance" which was everything outside the mind and hence objective. One fact that seemed beyond doubt was his own existence; "I think therefore I exist". He accepted only...

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