“Bacon’s Reform of Nature”

Kennington, R. “Bacon’s Reform of Nature.” Pp. 40–54. In Modern Enlightenment and the Rule of Reason, ed. John McCarthy. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1997.

Abstract: “The essays in this volume pose the question common usage has obscured: was “the Enlightenment” truly enlightened or enlightening? Scholarly investigation has sometimes avoided the question by confining itself to historical particulars of eighteenth-century Europe. Yet the most visible proponents of the Enlightenment, the philosophes, insisted that their project originated a century earlier, in the writings of the first self-proclaimed modern philosophers. This volume seeks philosophical clarity of modernity’s enlightenment by beginning with Bacon, Descartes, and Hobbes. Consideration of Pascal, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, Rousseau, Lessing, and Kant – all philosophical critics, or reformers, of the Enlightenmentfurthers the study of its legacy by displaying its diversity. Finally, the book indicates the Enlightenment’s vitality by outlining ways it continues to hold philosophical sway in this century.”