Francis Bacon
The last of the major seventeenth-century figures who greatly influenced Newton's intellectual development was Francis Bacon. Bacon was not solely a philosopher. He was Lord Chancellor under James I, and was an essayist and moral philosopher who wrote widely about the way he thought science should be conducted. In his The Advancement of Learning (1605), The New Organon (1620) and especially The New Atlantis (1627), he criticised the blind pursuit of Aristotelian philosophy and the rote- learning system of the universities. And, most importantly, he was the first to formulate what has become known as the experimental or inductive method. It was Bacon who, some time before Descartes dismissed magic and superstition, argued that scientific discipline should be guided and inspired by religious motivations. In The Advancement of Learning he wrote:
"To conclude therefore, let no man out of weak deceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search far or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress or proficiency in both"
Although he would have agreed with Descartes's dismissal of metaphysics, Bacon objected to scientific ideas being driven purely by philosophy and the deductive reasoning employed by Aristotle, which Descartes did not completely shake off. In effect, Bacon was the first to conceive of a 'Christian Technocracy'. Quoting Daniel in the Old Testament, that 'many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased', he envisaged a science driven by religion, guided by strict logical rules and experimental verification (almost as modern scientists perceive it) and aimed at enlightenment and practical applicability. Although Cartesianism provided Newton with a platform of reasoning about a mechanical philosophy which in turn led to the Industrial Revolution, it was Bacon's scientific method, which was readily adopted by generations of natural philosophers, including Newton, that provided the modus operandi for the Scientific Revolution.