For the glory of the Creator and the relief of man's estate : Francis Bacon's protestant reform of human learning




Liebeskind, Jane Louise

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Previous political theorists have argued that the goal of Bacon’s philosophic project is to supplant the power of the Christian faith over the hearts and minds of modern citizens with the power of the arts and sciences. In this dissertation, I dispute this view and develop an alternative account. Bacon’s goal is to replace the synthesis between Aristotelian philosophy and Catholic belief currently reigning in the philosophic schools with a new synthesis between faith and reason going forward. He finds the scholastic model of inquiry already breaking down under the scrutiny of protestant reformers and the hazards of popular opinion, sees the danger of a philosophy left entirely without guidance and conducted in the public sphere, and articulates a new set of governing principles for human inquiry, better suited to face the challenges of the Protestant reformation. Bacon’s immediate practical goal in this is simply to secure a new, independent, place for philosophy in the political and religious life of England and the wider world. But his deeper theoretical goal is to discover how human philosophy and the Christian faith can be better combined in the future than they have been in the past.



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