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Francis Bacon and the rhetoric of nature
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Francis Bacon and the Rhetoric of Nature offers a synthesis of Bacons views about language and nature. John Briggs clarifies the close relation between Bacons famous reform of scientific method and his less well-known conceptions of rhetoric, nature, and religion. He examines traditional views of nature and persuasion that were influential in the intellectual and practical life of early-seventeenth-century England, and shows how Bacon replaces the old nature with is gradual unfolding of organic potential with a new nature of violence, secrecy, and instantaneous revelation rewarding the self-abnegating, assiduous sons of science. Briggs explores Bacons paradoxes and puzzles in the context of the older Aristotelian and cosmological perspective, paying particular attention to the views of persuasion. He points out a remarkable and complex consistency in Bacons use of Solomon, Moses, Paul, and the Greeks, and reveals the depth of Bacons conviction that nature is Gods code, which scientists decipher and exploit. He uncovers, throughout in Bacons work, a darker, more Machiavellian and ingenious Bacon than the twentieth-century admirers of his rationalist facade have identified.
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