We Owe Our Quest to Sir Francis Bacon
Our roots go back some 400 years to the English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon. He believed in the value and power of acquiring and applying clear and demonstrative knowledge.
Sir Francis Bacon is the creator of the modern scientific method, technology transfer, and other important foundations of human society. Bacon wrote a number of publications on reorganizing the natural sciences, the most important of which was the Novum Organum, written in 1620. The Novum Organum introduced a new method of logic to learning. We have taken our name from this important foundational document.
The Novum Organum represents the summit of Francis Bacon's works. The title is taken from Aristotle's Organum, meaning "logical works", and accordingly signals a radical departure from the traditional method of scientific inquiry, a new method for scientific investigation to replace the old and faulty one of Aristotle. This work was part of Bacon’s plan to reorganize the sciences. The Novum Organum introduced a new method of logic to learning, to replace the old ways which had borne so little fruit.
He pointed to errors in thought that had to be corrected in order for man to advance. Observation was to be the cornerstone of scientific method.
Newton, who is usually contrasted with Bacon, said he was a Baconian and his own logic machine, the Calculus, was produced through a Baconian eliminative process.
Bacon’s Novum Organum is an information processing system. The New Organum is a protocol, much like an expert system in today’s artificial intelligence systems.
Kant’s later revolution in thought in Critique of Pure Reason applied an adaptation of Bacon’s approach to create his own revolution in thought. Bacon saw science as an autonomous social institution. Today’s research laboratories process information and conduct empirical research in the same way Bacon prescribed.
The first modern encyclopedia was the Encyclopédie, published in 1751 by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert. Diderot and d'Alembert specifically based the Encyclopédie on Bacon's original work in 1620.
Knowledge Is PowerIf any human being earnestly desires to push on to new discoveries instead of just retaining and using the old; to win victories over Nature as a worker rather than over hostile critics as a disputant; to attain, in fact, clear and demonstrative knowledge instead of attractive and probable theory; we invite him as a true son of Science to join our ranks.
*About The Illustration
The illustration is the original frontispiece from The Novum Organum. The ships displayed are sailing through the Pillars of Hercules, traditionally the limits of man's possible exploration. The Latin quotation at the foot of the waves reads: "Many will pass through and knowledge will be increased."