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B AC O N'S

NOVUM ORGANUM

EDITED

WITH INTRODUCTION, NOTES, ETL\



THOMAS FOWLER, D.D., F.S.A.

PRESIDENT OF CuRPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE

WYKEHAM PROFESSOR OF LOGIC IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
AND HONORARY DOCTOR OF LAWS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH



SECOND EDITION
Corrected and Revised



AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
MDCCCLXXXIX

[All rights reserved]



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.



THIS Edition of the Novum Organum is intended
to supply a want which, I think, must often have
been felt by students namely, a commentary, which,
besides explaining the difficulties of the work (by
no means few or small), should also present Bacon
in his relations to the History of Philosophy, Logic,
and Science. That I have fully succeeded in meet-
ing this want, I cannot flatter myself, but, at least,
I have spared no pains in the attempt, consistent
with the brevity imposed on me by the limits of
a single volume. Throughout my Notes and In-
troduction I have had two objects in view one to
execute as complete an edition as possible of my
author, the other to produce a work of educational
value to the student of philosophy, or, generally, of
the history of thought and science. Where these
two objects have at all interfered with each other,
instead of sacrificing one, I have endeavoured to
combine both. Thus, the frequent references to
Bacon's other writings, and what I may call the



vi PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

antiquarian portions of the work, would hardly have
been necessary for merely educational purposes. On
the other hand, if I could always have relied on the
co-operation of a mature student, some of the refe-
rences and many, perhaps, of the explanations might
have been spared. But, as a rule, I think, the results
aimed at by the two objects have pretty nearly
coincided, and I have thought it, at least, safer
to err on the side of offering too much elucidation
rather than too little.

The position of Bacon mid-way, as it were, between
Scholasticism, on one side, and Modern Philosophy
and Science, on the other, is so interesting that I
cannot but think that much has even still to be learnt
from the study of his works, and especially of this,
the chief and most influential of them all. Not
only is the Novum Organum a collection of fine
sayings and suggestive remarks, but a knowledge of
it is indispensable to the student of the History either
of Logic, of Philosophy, or of the Physical Sciences.
Moreover, it furnishes an excellent starting-point in
the history of any of these subjects, whether we wish
to go backwards or forwards. But this very fact
renders it essential that it should be accompanied
with a copious commentary, both to point out the
objects of interest, and to institute comparisons with
what the reader has seen or will see elsewhere. Nor
is the interest of the work simply historical. As I
have pointed out in the section of the Introduction
devoted to that subject, its present value to the student
of philosophy or logic is also, I believe, by no means
inconsiderable.



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION. vii

That many of Bacon's individual maxims and
doctrines may be found in other authors of the period
I am fully aware, and have not failed elsewhere to
notice ; but there is no other writer who brings
together his stores in such rich abundance, who
clothes his sentiments in such felicitous language, or
who, I believe, is so truly representative of the hopes
and aspirations, of the thoughts and tendencies of that
remarkable time.

Those subjects which could not conveniently be
treated within the compass of notes, and were still
of too much importance to be omitted, I have dis-
cussed at some length in the Introduction. In the
preliminary remarks to this portion of my work, I
have stated my reasons for writing in detached
sections rather than for offering a general appreciation
of Bacon's doctrines and position.

I have only annotated the Novum Organum itself,
though I have thought it would be interesting to
print the preliminary pieces which appeared with it
on its first publication. The text of these pieces, as
well as of the work itself, is re-produced after the
First Edition, with the exception of several altera-
tions in the punctuation and the frequent substitution
of small for capital letters. The annotation of the
minor pieces would merely have resulted in much
useless repetition.

The Index to the Text is based on Mr. Kitchin's
(as that also is based on the Index appended to the



viii PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

Oxford Edition of 1813), though I have introduced
many alterations and additions. With the Index to
the Text is incorporated the Index to the Notes.
This is, for the most part, in English, as the other
is, for the most part, in Latin. The admixture of
English and Latin in the same Index presents, it
must be confessed, a somewhat motley appearance,
but I trust that this defect will be more than out-
weighed by the facility for reference which is afforded
by such an arrangement. When a word occurs in
the Notes only, it is printed in Italics ; when it occurs
in the Text only, or both in the Text and the Notes,
it is printed in the ordinary Roman type.

I have thought it desirable to draw up a separate
Index to the Introduction.



It only remains to express my obligations to
previous writers on the same subject, and to the
friends who have assisted me in my work. I have
read, or, at least, consulted all the annotated editions
of the Novum Organum and all the dissertations on
Bacon's Logic or Philosophy, to which I have been
able to obtain access. To these works I have,
wherever there was occasion, expressed my obligations,
but I must here specially select, for more particular
acknowledgment, the magnificent Edition of Bacon's
Works by Ellis and Speckling, the French Edition
by M. Bouillet, the Edition of the Novum Organum
by Mr. Kitchin (whose generosity m allowing me
to replace it by the present edition demands my
special thanks), the works on Bacon's Philosophy



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION. ix

by De Remusat and Kuno Fischer, Mr. Macvey
Napier's Essay on Bacon, and Professor Playfair's
Preliminary Dissertation in the Encyclopaedia Bri-
tannica. With reference to previous writers generally,
I may here take occasion to remark that, where any
explanation, reference, authority, &c., mentioned by
them, had previously occurred to me or would cer-
tainly have occurred to me in the course of composition,
I have not thought it necessary to make any special
acknowledgment, or to adopt inverted commas, but,
where this has not been the case, I believe I have
almost invariably done so. The question of literary
property is always a difficult one, but I have certainly
not consciously or deliberately appropriated what is
not my own.

I have to thank Mr. Spedding for the uniform
courtesy with which he has answered any questions
relative to the literary department of my work,
Professors Rolleston and Clifton, who have occa-
sionally supplemented my own somewhat defective
knowledge of scientific facts, my colleagues, Mr. W.
Warde Fowler and Mr. N. Bodington, Fellows of
Lincoln College, who have given me much valuable
assistance in revising the proofs and suggesting cor-
rections, during the progress of the work, as well as
Mr. J. A. Stewart, late Senior Student of Ch. Ch., and
Mr. J. Cotter Morison, who have performed the same
service for me with regard to detached portions of the
book. But my thanks are especially due to Professor
H. J. S. Smith, who, notwithstanding his numerous
engagements, has kindly revised my proofs, and
frequently given me the benefit of his very valuable



x PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

advice and assistance. Had his other pursuits ad-
mitted of it, I know of no one who, from his varied
accomplishments, was better fitted to undertake the
task of editing the Novum Organum than Professor
Smith himself.

LINCOLN COLLEGK,
Feb. 4, 1878.



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.



THE present edition has been carefully revised, and
I trust will be found as free from errors and inaccura-
cies as the nature of such a work permits. Amongst
other friends I have to thank, for various corrections
and suggestions, the late Mr. Mark Pattison, Mr.
By water of Exeter College, Mr. Case of Corpus
Christi College, and my cousin, the Rev. J. T. Fowler
of Hatfield Hall, Durham.

The most important alterations or additions in this
Edition occur in the passage on the relation of Bacon
to Harvey (p. 28) ; in that on Bacon's modified adop-
tion of the Triad of Paracelsus (p. 29) ; in that on the
tenacity with which many English mathematicians still
adhered to the Cartesian system after the publication
of Newton's discoveries (p. 36) ; in the statement of
the practical aspect of Bacon's doctrine of Forms
(p. 58) ; in the introduction of a note on Bacon's
rejection of metaphysics in the ordinary acceptation
of the term (p. 67); in a reference, as connected with
Aristotle's habits of observation, to Dr. William Ogle's
Translation of the De Partibus Animalium (p. 70) ;
in the passages on Aristotle's doctrine of Induction
(p. 87) ; in a considerable addition to the foot-note on



xii PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

traces of Bacon's influence to be found in the works
of Locke (p. 99) ; in the introduction of additional
matter on the testimonies to Bacon of Vico (p. 109)
and Comenius (pp. 109-10) and of a new paragraph
on the testimony of Barrow (pp. 120-1); in the addi-
tion of a new paragraph (marked 6th) on the Nature
of Bacon's Influence on Science, pointing out more
definitely, than I seem to have done in the First
Edition, what I regard as the most distinctive feature
in Bacon's reform of Logic (pp. 128-9) ! m sonie cor-
rections of and several additions to the Section on the
Bibliography of the Novum Organum ; and, lastly, in
the introduction of, or in additions to or modifications
of, the following foot-notes l : p. 192, notes 1,2; p. 194,
n. 7; p. 198, n. 16 ; p. 206, u. 31 ; pp. 211-12, ;/. 42 ;
pp. 222-3, n - 7o; P- 228, n. 83; p. 236, n. 6; p. 243,
n. 26; p. 245, 11. 32; p. 251, n. 52; p. 253, n. 59;
p. 258, 11. 73; p. 259, n. 74; p. 284, n. 38; p. 296,
n. 62 (new note) ; p. 310, n. 4 and n. 7 ; p. 315, n. 20 ;
p. 347, 11. 19 ; p. 355, n. 42 ; p. 357, n. 47; p. 358,
" 53 ; PP- 361-3, n. 62 ; p. 374, 11. 6 ; p. 386, 11. 42 ;
p. 393, 11. 64 ; p. 409, 11. 17; p. 425, n. 6 1 ; p. 440,
" 97 : P- 453, n. 37 ; p. 460, n. 57 ; p. 487, n. 27 ;
p. 488, n. 31 ; p. 491, 11. 37; p. 492, 11. 42 ; p. 496,
n. 50; p. 500, 11. 58; p. 509, n. 83; p. 559, n. 53 ;
p. 566, 11. 74; p. 576, 11. 8.

As it appears to me that differences between authors
are, as a rule, better discussed in their works than in
the pages of newspapers or magazines, I avail myself

1 The references, throughout, are to the ne\v, not to the old, edition.
In some cases the notes are altogether new.



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. xiii

of this opportunity to reply to certain strictures recently
passed by Dr. Abbott, in his work, entituled ' Francis
Bacon ' (Macmillan and Co., 1885), on a small work of
my own, bearing the same title, which was published
in Messrs. Sampson Low and Co.'s Series of English
Philosophers, in 1881. Nor is my rejoinder irrelevant
to the present occasion, as much of the discussion bears
on points common to my smaller work and the Intro-
duction to the Novum Organum.

The most important difference between myself and
Dr. Abbott turns on our respective views of Bacon's
' moral system.' And I cannot but think that, as in
many other controversies, the real issue is largely ob-
scured by the ambiguous use of terms. The passages in
Dr. Abbott's Edition of Bacon's Essays, which origin-
ally gave occasion to our controversy, occur in Ch. 5
of his Introduction (Vol. I, pp. 136, 7), and are to the
following effect : ' But it is through Machiavelli, most
of all, that we arrive at a clear understanding of Bacon's
moral system. For, however Bacon may disown his
master and rebel against some of the blunt and logical
Machiavellian dicta, yet Machiavelli was unquestion-
ably Bacon's guide, if not in theoretical, at all events
in practical morality.' And, again, 'The morality of the

Essays, which are eminently practical, is the

pure and simple morality of Machiavelli.' These
statements I criticised in my ' Francis Bacon,' pp. 41
45, and Dr. Abbott has replied to my criticisms in an
Appendix to his ' Francis Bacon/ pp. 457-60, under
the very ambiguous title ' Professor Fowler's Defence
of Bacon's Morality.' This last term covers no less
than three distinct conceptions, which Dr. Abbott does



xiv PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

not appear to me to have clearly discriminated, namely,
Bacon's theory of Ethics, his practical maxims, and
his own conduct. It is clearly with the first of these
conceptions that, writing on Bacon in his capacity of
a ' Philosopher ' (for it is in a series of ' English
Philosophers' that I am treating of him), I am mainly
concerned. And if any of my readers, who is in-
terested in the subject of Bacon's theory of Moral
Philosophy, will take the trouble to refer to the pas-
sage cited (as it exists in extenso in my own work, and
not in the extremely inadequate compression of it,
cited, however, as if it were continuous and exhaustive,
which is presented by Dr. Abbott), I think he can
hardly fail to arrive at the same conclusion with myself
that, in ethical theory at least, ' Bacon's place is, surely,
not with the small class of moralists, who, like Machia-
velli, Hobbes, and Mandeville, appeal only, or mainly,
to the selfish instincts of mankind, or to the reflexions
of a cool self-love, but with that far larger class who

O

recognise benevolent principles of action as co-ordinate
with and often controlling those which merely regard
ourselves.' But that Dr. Abbott's strictures on Bacon's
' morality' cover his ethical theory seems plain from the
expression ' moral system,' as well as from the saving
clause ' if not in theoretical, at all events in practical
morality,' which can only bear the meaning that, while
Machiavelli was unquestionably Bacon's guide in
practical morality, it is open to question whether he was
not also Bacon's cfuide in theoretical morality as well.

o

As to the practical maxims of conduct which appear
in the Essays and elsewhere, though I am far less
concerned with these than with Bacon's philosophical



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. xv

position in relation to ethics, I may offer a few brief
considerations in opposition to, or extenuation of, the
severe censures passed by Dr. Abbott. In the first
place, if I mistake not, even within the sphere of
' practical morality/ the passages which dictate a
generous and open line of conduct are largely pre-
ponderant over those which suggest, or seem to sug-
gest, a self-seeking, mean, or crooked policy. Over
against the Essay ' Of Simulation and Dissimulation,'
for instance, we ought, in all fairness, to place the
Essays 'Of Truth/ and ' Of Wisdom for a Man's Self.'
Then, as to those passages which betray the less
generous side of Bacon's practical teaching, there are
two considerations which the modern reader is very apt
to ignore, but which it is most pertinent to the matter
in issue that he should bear in mind. First, these
passages mostly bear on the conduct of life in politics
and diplomacy, departments of activity in which
candour, truthfulness, and fair dealing are not even
now so general as to give us much occasion for triumph
over our ancestors. Even in this department of
practical morals, there is no doubt that the growth
of public sentiment has brought about a certain im-
provement, but, after all, it may be questioned whether
the great difference, in this respect, bet\veen Bacon's
time and our own, is not that men then openly avowed
the motives and devices which they now at least pay
the homage to virtue of concealing from others and
often, perhaps, even from themselves. That open deal-
ing as between rival statesmen and rival nations was
a counsel of perfection, which, however desirable, was
not altogether attainable, might well be taken for



xvi PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

granted in the courts and camps of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries ; and a writer so analytic, and,
I may add, so candid as Bacon was certain to bring
out this dark side of political morality in bold relief,
though with him its recognition is most distinctly the ex-
ception and not the rule, while, with Machiavelli, it is
the postulate and basis of his entire system. Another
observation, which should never be lost sight of in
reading any of Bacon's writings, is the tendency, which
he shared with many authors of his generation, to lay
peculiar emphasis on the particular aspect of a subject
with which he happened, at the time, to be dealing.
All qualifications and countervailing considerations are,
for the moment, kept out of sight, and the object is to
place before the reader a particular point of view in its
strongest colours. What Bacon himself would have

o

called a ' Marino; instance ' of this mode of treatment

o o

is to be found in the Temporis Partus Masculus (see
Introduction, pp. 8, 9), where he sets himself to 'dis-
course scornfully of the philosophy of the Grecians.'
Another good instance is to be found in the ' Antitheta '
in the sixth Book of the De Augmentis (see especially
E. and S., vol. I, p. 688, etc.). But instances of this
kind abound in Bacon's works, and we need not go
further than the Novum Organum to find our examples,
such as are notably the attacks on Aristotle or Gilbert
and the apparent depreciation of syllogistic logic.
Hence, there is, perhaps, no author with regard to
whom it is so necessary to lay together the various
utterances on a subject, as scattered throughout his
works, before arriving at a definite estimate of his real
opinions.



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. xvii

The question as to the morality of Bacon's own
conduct, in the various passages of his life, will pro-
bably continue to divide biographers, historians, and
reviewers to the world's end. His was, no doubt, a
complex character, and the events and persons, that
constituted his surroundings, rendered, in his case, the
conduct of life peculiarly difficult. But, as regards
both his character and his acts, I believe that the good
largely preponderated over the evil, nor can I, on these
points, accept the guidance of Dr. Abbott, as free from
hostile bias. To me it appears of great importance to
the fame and credit of Bacon, as well as to the cause
of historical truth, that even ' readers of limited leisure '
should not ' be prepared to accept ' Dr. Abbott's book
' on its own merits as a fairly complete account of the
life and works of Bacon,' but that they should supple-
ment their studies by the perusal, at least, of Professor
Gardiner's article in the Dictionary of National Bio-
graphy and of Mr. Spedding's ' Account of the Life
and Times of Francis Bacon ' (London, Triibner and
Co., 1878). The latter work, which appeared four
years later than the last volume of the ' Letters and
Life,' not only contains an abridgment, supervised by
Mr. Spedcling himself, of his larger work, but, in some
places, new matter of importance, and it appears to me
unfortunate, in the interests of that not inconsiderable
class of readers who wish to see both sides of a ques-
tion, that Dr. Abbott makes no reference either to this
work or to the valuable series of papers contributed
by Mr. Spedding to Vols. XXVII and XXVIII of the
Contemporary Review, under the titles of the ' Latest
Theory about Bacon ' and ' Lord Macaulay's Essay on

b



xviii PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

Bacon examined.' These papers were occasioned by
Dr. Abbott's Introduction to his Edition of Bacon's
Essays, and he replies to the series more immediately
concerning himself in the June number of 1876 (Vol.
XXVIII). Dr. Abbott's more leisurely readers will
clo well to turn to these additional materials for form-
ing a judgment on the controverted points of Bacon's
life.

The most telling portion of Dr. Abbott's Appendix
on ' Professor Fowler's Defence of Bacon's Morality'
is, doubtless, that in which he alludes to Bacon's self-
revelations in the ' Commentarius Solutus.' Some of
these revelations are certainly not of a pleasant
character, but, without dwelling on the question how
far the reputation of many of the rising lawyers and
politicians even of our own time might be affected
by a similar photograph of their inmost thoughts and
most secret aims, I may ask the reader of Dr. Abbott's
pages to suspend his judgment till he has at least
taken account of the considerations adduced, in ex-
planation or extenuation, by Mr. Spedding in his ' Life
and Times of Francis Bacon,' Vol. I, pp. 528-550, or
the 'Letters and Life,' Vol. IV, pp. 18-37.

Of Dr. Abbott's minor criticisms of my views on
Bacon's philosophy, the most important is that in
which (p. 405) he demurs to my supposition that Bacon,
in his later years, was less disposed, than in earlier life,
to accept, on authority and without reservation, the
dogmas of the Church ('Francis Bacon,' p. 182; Intro-
duction to Novum Organum, p. 47), and to my argu-
ment founded on the omission, in his later work the



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. xix

De Augmentis, of certain passages on the nature and
attributes of God, which occur in his earlier work The
Advancement of Learning. Dr. Abbott thinks that
the omissions and modifications in the De Augmentis,
as compared with the fuller and more definite theo-
logical statements in the Advancement, are intended
to avoid giving offence to Bacon's Roman Catholic
readers on the continent. But it so happens that the
passages to which I refer are not such as could have
given offence to Roman Catholic readers, and hence
I cannot see how either my position or my argument
is affected by Dr. Abbott's remarks.

This is hardly the place in which to discuss with
Dr. Abbott matters exclusively affecting Bacon's life or
personal character. But I may, perhaps, be allowed to
point out that, notwithstanding Dr. Abbott's apparent
surprise (pp. xv, 320) at my theory 2 that 'the root
from which all Bacon's errors and misfortunes
sprang ' was carelessness in money-matters, leading
to constant pecuniary difficulties, and, as a natural
result, to undue office-seeking and an inordinate
craving for preferment, his own account on p. 321 is
perfectly consistent with mine, providing only that we
bear in mind the well-known psychological fact that
habits formed in early life often continue to act with
undiminished, or even increased force, though the
specific circumstances which gave birth to them have
ceased to operate. Unqualified statements, however, of
this nature are usually erroneous, and, perhaps, I may



2 I can hardly, however, claim originality for this theory, which was
probably suggested by a passage occurring at the end of Mr. Spedding's
' Life and Times of Francis Bacon ' as well as of the ' Letters and Life.'



xx PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

here be permitted to substitute for the word ' all ' the
more qualified expression 'most of his errors and
misfortunes. With this qualification, I believe the
statement to be true.

CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE,
Dec. i, 1888.



CONTENTS.



PAGE

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION v

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION xi

INTRODUCTION ...... i

i. DATES OF THE LEADING EVENTS IN BACON'S LIFE, AND

OF THE FIRST PUBLICATION OF HIS PRINCIPAL WRITINGS 3

2. THE OBJECT OF THE NoVUM ORGANUM . . 5
3. RELATION OF THE NOVUM ORGANUM TO THE MORE

IMPORTANT OF BACON'S OTHER PHILOSOPHICAL WORKS 6

4. WAS THE NOVUM ORGANUM WRITTEN IN LATIN? . 12

5. BACON'S GENERAL PHILOSOPHICAL OPINIONS . . 14

6. BACON'S SCIENTIFIC ATTAINMENTS AND OPINIONS, WITH
SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE STATE OF KNOWLEDGE IN

HIS TIME . . . . . .22

7. BACON'S RELIGIOUS OPINIONS . . . .44

8. THE MEANING ATTACHED BY BACON TO THE WORD
' FORM ' (INCLUDING A NOTE ON THE ' FOUR CAUSES '
OF ARISTOTLE) . . . . -54

9. BACON'S METHOD OF EXCLUSIONS . . . 60

10. BACON'S REJECTION OF FINAL CAUSES IN PHYSICS . 64

n. THE CAUSES OF ARISTOTLE'S FAILURE IN HIS PHYSICAL

RESEARCHES . . . . .68

12. THE REACTION AGAINST THE AUTHORITY OF ARISTOTLE 72

13. ANTICIPATIONS OF BACON'S METHOD AND TEACHING . 86

14. BACON'S INFLUENCE ON PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE, IN-
CLUDING THE TESTIMONIES OF EARLY WRITERS TO
HIM ... ... 98

15. PRESENT VALUE OF BACON'S LOGICAL WORKS . . 131

1 6. OPPONENTS OF BACON . . . . 135



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