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fessor Adamson truthfully says, "it is more than probable that in all fairness, when we speak of the Baconian reform of science, we should refer to the forgotten Monk of the thirteenth century rather than to the brilliant and famous Chancellor of the seventeenth": The new philosophers themselves were not familiar with the work of “Friar Bacon”, while they persistently praised and honored the chancellor, and followed as well as they could his precepts as they found them in the Novum Organum. They became his disciples and were not slow in carrying out the plan of a learned society as sketched in the New Atlantis". To him is due, then, the working hypothesis the inductive method, wherein a long and careful process of experimentation and observation must precede the drawing of conclusions.
The third element was furnished by Descartes. He was a mathematician as well as a philosopher, and hence could bring mathematical accuracy and precision to the aid of philosophical thinking. His great service, therefore, lay in his reducing to formulae the facts gleaned from experiment and observation. "Monsieur Descartes . . . . . did not perfectly tread in his (Bacon's) Steps, since he was for doing too great a part of his work in his Closet, concluding too soon, before he had made Experiments enough; but then to a vast Genius he joined exquisite Skill in Geometry, and working upon Intelligible Principles and an Intelligible Manner. obtained his results. '5 He also joined forces with Bacon against the power of ancient authority. "Bacon shares with Descartes the honour of inaugurating the modern period of philosophy. Bacon's protest against the principle of authority, a principle which had been accepted with more or less unhesitating loyalty by the Scholastic philosophers, is no less vigorous than that of Descartes. Both alike are eager to substitute for faith and tradition the independent effort of the individual mind in pursuit of truth.”
Harvey's chief influence was due to his achievements. Trained
3 Adamson, R., Roger Bacon, p. 7.
8 "But one conclusion emerges out of these considerations, viz. not, indeed that arithmetic and geometry are the sole sciences to be studied, but only, that in our search for the direct road towards truth we should busy ourselves with no object about which we cannot attain a certitude equal to that of the demonstrations of arithmetic and geom. etry".--Descartes, Phil. Wk8., vol. I, p. 5.
in the new scientific methods under Fabricius at Padua and filled with an enthusiasm for discovery, he returned to England to apply with clear-sightedness and commonsense the new principles to physiological research. The result was that he startled the learned world and stimulated intellectual curiosity with his discovery of the circulation of the blood.?
These are the elements underlying the new science of the seventeenth century in England in so far as they can be concretely defined. “The period had arrived when that experimental philosophy to which Bacon had held the torch, and which had already made considerable progress, especially in Italy, was finally established on the ruins of arbitrary figments and partial inductions'.8 But, while the mind can easily grasp these tangible elements,—the use of scientific apparatus in solving philosophical problems, the inductive method of investigation, and the reduction of philosophical ideas to mathematical formulae—there still remains a subtle and powerful force. The new science was more penetrating than the above definition indicates; it was an attitude of mind, it was a declaration of intellectual independence. “Nullius in Verba is not only the motto of the Royal Society, but a received Principle among all the Philosophers of the present Age." Not only are new discoveries to be made, new investigations to be carried on, but the old beliefs are to be re-examined. Aristotle and Descartes are to be of exactly the same authority so far as mere assertion is concerned.10 No authority is to be convincing because it is ancient; no conclusion is to be scouted because it is new.11
This interest in scientific research crystallized into definitely organized societies. The Society of Antiquaries was formed at London in 1572 and continued into the seventeenth century until dissolved by James I. A Royal Academy was attempted as early as 1616-17, in which it was planned to devote some attention to science. Sir Francis Kynaston renewed the attempt in 1635.12
? Announced 1616; published 1628.
8 Hallam, Henry, Introduction to the Lit. of Eur, vol. IV, p. 518. Of. also, Becker, B. H., Scientific London, p. 1.
. Wotton, William, Reflections, p. 251. 10 Wotton, William, Reflections, p. 364.
12 Elton, Oliver, The Augustan A ge8, p. 383.
But this study is centralized in the work and influence of the Royal Society of London. It did not absolutely lead the way, but it had a wholly independent development. There was in Florence an earlier society, Accademia del Cimento, with “provando e riprovando la natura” for its motto. "This body was more purely scientific in its plan than the Royal Society”, but it was clearly an outgrowth of the same movement.13 In 1666 the French Academy of Science was founded, showing that scientific interest was awakened in Paris. Bishop Sprat thought, with some show of reason, that the French imitated the English.14 The question of source is eliminated from the discussion of the history of the Royal Society, because it had a definite English origin in Bacon's New Atlantis.15
As early as 1645 this common interest in England had drawn together a group of men, who had grown weary of the political and religious turmoil of the times.16 These men began a series of weekly meetings in the lecture room of the Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College. There was at first no definite organization or plan of procedure, although by 1651 there were rules printed intended for regulating the election of members, (fines for "defaults" 2s.6d.), and even setting the time of meetings --"every Thursday, before two of the clock”.17 This company was called by Sir Robert Boyle, an early member, the “invisible College”.1 Their discussions were limited by agreement to the “New Philosophy”, i. e. to a study of things around them in nature, what they could see, touch, feel, or hear, “ (not meddling with Divinity, Metaphysicks, Moralls, Politicks, Grammar, Rhetoric, or Logic)”.1
The company slowly increased. In 1658 there were twelve members, among whom were Wilkins, Seth Ward, Wallis, Sir Robert Moray, and Boyle. During this year several of the members were
18 Sprat, Thomas, History of the Royal Society, p. 56, 14 It became an
er& for societies. Cf. Minerva's Museum; see also, account of "Academy at the great Tew", The Rota, The Hartlib Group, The Athenian Society, So. ciety for Physicians and Surgeons. Later branch societies sprang up in outlying towns; cf. Spalding, Lincolnshire.
14 Bacon, Francis, The New Atlantis, Solomon's House.
called away to Oxford, whither they carried the new interest, and
Out of that tumultuous mid-century, therefore, came this new
20 Johnson, Samuel, Works, vol. X, p. 36.
21 Masson, David, Life of Milton, vol. VI, p. 395; Becker, B. H., Scientific London,
22 The Charter was dated April 22, 1662.
24 Boyle, Robert, Phil. Trans. vol. I-II, p. 186. Cf. also, Bacon's plan for Book
otherwise the best evidence that could be obtained. When it is remembered that some of these men actually believed in witchcraft (Glanvil), sympathetic powder (Sir Kenelm Digby), curing by stroking (Boyle), and whatnot of superstition, this broad and liberal intellectual policy is remarkable. The appeal, it will be seen, was directly to commonsense and to reason, which at first led to a general sceptical attitude. “When a discussion arose regarding St. Andrew's Day (Nov. 30) for celebrating the anniversary of their foundation, after St. George and St. Isidore (a canonized philosopher) had been suggested as more fitting patron saints, Sir William Petty said,-'No, I would rather have had it on St. Thomas's Day, for he would not believe till he had seen and put his hands into the holes of the nails' ".25
In order to reconstruct the natural history of the world, their aim was to study nature as Bacon had advised ;-"The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes" 28 "The business and design of the Royal Society is
"To improve the knowledge of Naturall Things, and all useful Arts, Manufactures, Mechanick Practices, Engynes and Inventions by Experiments.....
"To attempt the recovering of such allowable Arts and Inventions as are lost.
"To examine all Systems, Theories, Principles, Hypotheses, Elements, Histories, and Experiments of Things, Naturall and Mechanical, invented, recorded, or practiced, by any considerable author ancient or modern. In order to a compiling of a complete system of solid philosophy for explicating all phenomena produced by Nature or Art, and recording a rational account of the causes of things. In the meantime this Society will not own any Hypothesis, System, or doctrine of the Principles of Naturall Philosophy, proposed or mentioned by Philosopher ancient or modern, nor the explication of any phenomena whose recourse must be had to originall causes (as not being explicable by Heat, Cold, Weight, Figure, and the like, as Effects produced thereby); nor dogmatically define, nor fix axioms of scientific Things, but will question and canvass all till by mature debate and clear arguments, chiefly such
24 Wheatley, H. B., Samuel Pepys and the World he Lived In, p. 123. 28 Weld, C. R., History of R. S. “Natural opposed to supernatural", p. 126.