Comparison of Francis Bacon's and Aristotle's Ways of Science

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Francis Bacon's way of science, unlike Aristotle, is arguing rationally by using logic. He believed that natural philosophers should help improve the comfort and wellbeing of humanity through advances in technology. He believed that manipulating nature meant by deriving useful arts also know as “techne”.In other words when in science it's best to test your hypothesis on the spot instead of relying on the information of others in books because it provided proof to analyzes based on immediate experimentation. He also believed that science should require central planning and support from the government. Bacon was attempting to make a utopian science bureaucracy.

When it comes to his inductive method we conclude from observation. In other terms, he believed in the concept of probability. That if enough data is collected one can infer if a fact or answer to a question is true. In inductive reasoning, we start with comprehending and comparing past data/observations which one already knows about the concept they are questioning and identify the problem. After that one test there hypothesis during experimentation. after multiple observations, a theory is created with a probability of it being true. Which led to bacon coming up with the idols of the mind. The Idols of the Tribe made the false assumption of nature both human and environmental. Its when people make assumptions without evidence and over exaggerate that causes an error in scientific concepts. The idol of the Cave is individual habits and prejudices. For example religious prejudices. The idols of the marketplace are the errors and tendencies of one's words. For example how slang can change the definition of one word.Finally the idol of the theatre which is false learning through scientific concepts and beliefs.

Medieval Medicine

When it came to medieval medicine it allowed people to comprehend one's body and health. When it came to medicine in Bacon's point of view it emphasized reason and observation that formed a medical prediction.

Early examples of medieval medicine lead from ancient greek medicine and most common in the renaissance era. One such example is Avicenna’s (Ibn Sina) “The Canon of Medicine”.It says “The Canon states the following: 'Medicine is the science by which we learn, the various states of the human body, in health, when not in health, the means by which, health is likely to be lost, and when lost, is likely to be restored to health...intoxication,' psychotherapy and many other modern concepts of medicine. Diseases were categorized according to their degree of heat, cold, dryness and moisture...medical treatment was based on the Rule of Opposites. (Smith Avicenna and the Canon of Medicine: A Millennial Tribute 368)”

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In other words, it summarizes the basic causes of one illness and summarizes the concepts of previous medical theories like Galen who was a Greek physicist. Galen's theory which was mentioned in Avicenna's Canon was built on the systems of Aristotle. Which added detailed notes on human anatomy drawn from experience. Galen observed how the larynx works and demonstrated how the human lung fills up with air after inhaling oxygen. Which led to innovated cataract surgery, using human and animal experimentation to comprehend how humans work. From Dissecting sheep heads he discovered an organ from the circulatory system called the rete mirabile that exists in sheep but not in humans concluding not all anatomy of biotic creatures is alike.

However, when compared to Francis Bacon's Idols is what he describes in the idols of the tribe and theater as false learning from previous religious and scientific beliefs. In other words, when it came to medicine back then people would make assumptions without evidence on how human anatomy worked and what were the causes and cures of illness. Most people before medicine believed that through prayer and will the disease will remove itself from and individual. In Bacon's point of view, he believed that we should not claim the concepts of previous medical practices as certainly since there is a possibility of error in those methods. For the Idols of the cave in medical practices, people believed in prejudice. Bacon believed that we should be aware of one's habits to correct medical methods. To be aware of one's habits can provide evidence for the cause of an illness.

In my opinion, medieval medicine was messed up and mostly incorrect. However, I agree with Bacons' point of view since most medical practices in the past were proven false. Even today medical practices like bacon would describe as uncertain. In the present, we know a lot about the human brain however we don't know how to transplant a brain proving there is still much to learn and correct on not only the nervous system but of the entire human body.


Alchemy is the fundamental theory of comprehending the concept of matter. For example, back then people believed they could turn coal and lead in gold. According to Devun from Prophecy, Alchemy, and the End of Time: John of Rupecissa in the Late Middle Ages it says “Alchemy is an ancient practice shrouded in mystery and secrecy. Its practitioners mainly sought to turn lead into gold, a quest that has captured the imaginations of people for thousands of years. However, the goals of alchemy went far beyond simply creating some golden nuggets. Alchemy was rooted in a complex spiritual worldview in which everything around us contains a sort of universal spirit, and metals were believed not only to be alive but also to grow inside the Earth. When a base or common, metal such as lead was found, it was thought to simply be a spiritually and physically immature form of higher metals such as gold (Devun, Leah. Prophecy, Alchemy, and the End of Time pg 55)”.In other words, alchemy is the practices that led to the concept of chemistry. Most alchemical practices focused on transmutation. Which is change one metal into a different metal.

Most alchemists believed that metals were compounds that were formed in the earth with different quantities and qualities Such as when sulfur and mercury are combined into a new compound. The goal was to make the most certain metal from the earth artificially. However, metals that come from the earth's crust are elements that can be formed into compounds by combining some of them. For example, heating pure iron in a furnace mixed with coal and infused with carbon makes steel. This process was known as Chrsopoeia. Which required fine-tuning and the practice of metallurgy by heating the metal for days on end by controlling the temperature at different times during the process. For example, Johannes Gutenburg was an alchemist who used an alloy of lead and tin which was then used to try creating a primitive version of the printing press. When comparing to Francis Bacon's Idols are what he describes in the idols of the tribe and theater as false learning. For starters, all-natural metals are elements, not compounds. Also one can't make gold just by combining a whole bunch of metals at a certain temperature. This creates errors in scientific concepts and beliefs in the theory of matter. Also Gold is an element, it cant be created artificially which is what alchemist was trying to do. Creating new compound metals like steel is not formed by combing other metals in a controlled temperature alone. It requires a more difficult process in certain conditions.

In my opinion, even though alchemy had incorrect there is no way I can disagree that this concept was a forerunner to chemistry. Its a shame we can't make artificially yet. However, I believed alchemy inspired individuals to combine most metals through experimentation to create new compounds that are even stronger and more efficient than the original metal.

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