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Dictionary of the History of Ideas

Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas
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7 occurrences of Dictionary_of_the_History_of_Ideas
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I

The fortunes of Bacon in modern thought are ex-
traordinarily rich in controversies and questionings.
They are closely bound up with a clash, often very
harsh in tone, between diverse and opposed concep-
tions of philosophy and scientific knowledge. Was
Bacon the father of modern philosophy or an heir of
Renaissance naturalism? Was he the father of modern
science or the builder of a huge and useless “logical
machine”? Theorist of the new method of investigating
nature or thinker bound to the most characteristic
themes of the traditional magico-alchemy? Theorist of
progress or the thinker at the source of those processes
of alienation and estrangement present in modern
industrial society?

Confrontation with or discussion of Bacon's ideas is
an integral part not only of the philosophies of Boyle,
Vico, Leibniz, Newton, Diderot, Comte, and Dewey
but of the great currents and movements of modern
culture: the Enlightenment, romantic spiritualism,
positivism, and pragmatism. Controversy over Baco-
nian ideas seems alive even today: the expounders of
the so-called critical theory of society still see in Bacon
or in Baconianism the symbol of the impious Pro-
methean and Faustian ideal of a total instrumental
mechanization of reality.