Bacon’s Advancement of Learning

Bacon, The Advancement of Learning
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
Notes on Bacon’s philosophies
•    Natural philosophy has made little progress
•    Prefers models of scientists: observation, experimentation, and classification
•    Used Ramus’ device of binary opposition
o    Although…doesn’t subscribe to Ramus’ division of dialectic and rhetoric
•    Positivism: an uncritical acceptance of sense perceptions as constituting reality (Bacon warned against this, though)
o    Instead, he urged a critical epistemology: divided the mind into three faculties: reason, memory, and imagination
•    Memory (2nd faculty) is the storehouse of experienced events and maternal facts; history is its special genre
•    Invention in rhetoric means recall or recovery and relies on commonplaces of wisdom and knowledge produced by science
•    The means by which knowledge is used and incorporated into social institutions which are maintained by memory
•    *Bacons definition of rhetoric: applies reason to the imagination to move the will
o    Rhetoric links knowledge to social concerns
•    Split between speech and thought
•    Refutes Plato’s argument that rhetoric is a distortion of the truth
•    Rhet has a responsibility
Advancement of Learning (notes from book 2; notes from book 1 coming later)
•    4 Arts Intellectual: inquiry/invention; examination/judgment; custody/memory; elocution/tradition
•    Knowledge: preparation and suggestion
o    Are the Sophists right?: Would a shoemaker be better equipped if he had samples of various sizes and shoes, or if someone simply told him how to make shoes?
•    Custody or retaining of knowledge has two parts: writing or memory
o    Writing has two parts: nature of the character and order of entry
•    Memory in the faculties of the mind—there’s a great copy
•    Art of memory is built upon two intentions: prenotion and emblem
o    Prenotion: discharges the seeking of that we would remember
•    Congruity with out place of memory
o    Emblem: Reduces intellectual conceits to sensible images which strike the memory more
•    Rational knowledge: transitive—expressing or transferring our knowledge to others (tradition/delivery)
o    3 parts of tradition: organ, method, illustration
•    “The duty and office of Rhetoric is to apply reason to imagination for the better moving of the will.  For we will see Reason is disturbed in the administration thereof by three means; by illaqueation of Sophism, which pertains to Logic; by imagination or Impression which pertains to Rhetoric; and by passion or affection which pertains to morality”
•    Present fills the imagination more, but the force of eloquence and persuasion hath made things future and remote appear as present
•    There is great pleasure and use in the well-casting of staircases, windows, etc. as well as in speech there is pleasure and use of the conveyances and passages of special ornament and effect


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