“Francis Bacon and the Conquest of Nature” by Laurence Berns

Berns, L. “Francis Bacon and the Conquest of Nature.” Interpretation 7 (1978), 1–26.

First Paragraph: “The so-called conquest of nature by modern science, the science associated with the names of Bacon, Descartes, Galileo and Newton, has transformed human life almost beyond description. The new dependency of human life upon science, or its product, technology, pervades our thinking as well as our practical lives. It might even seem, from the recent suggestion to replace the term technology with the term “technetronics,” that logos too had become outdated. Our awareness of the depth of this fundamental dependency should help us to avoid the hypocrisy of indulging in loose anti-scientific talk. Yet the threat of nuclear war, overpopulation, environmental pollution, the imbalance and disappearance of nature in the wild, self-perpetuating nature, and so forth, have all made the problematic character of the great project for the conquest of nature increasingly evident, even to non-philosophic thought.”