Francis Bacon: The Philosopher and Scientist Who Promoted the Scientific Method

Most people have heard of the famous British philosopher and natural scientist, Francis Bacon. Bacon was an influential figure in the 17th century due to his promotion of empiricism and the scientific method. He proposed that research should be conducted through observation and experimentation, thus paving the way for the scientific revolution. Throughout his career, Bacon held various appointments, honours, and titles in politics and science, and his contributions to the scientific world are still remembered today.

Early Life and Education

Francis Bacon was born on January 22, 1561 in London, England. He was the youngest son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, his father’s personal servant, and his mother, Anne Bacon. Bacon attended Trinity College, Cambridge from 1573 to 1575. He later attended Gray’s Inn, London, hoping to practice law, but he was not successful. In fact, he was unsuccessful at everything he tried, and he never held any sustained professional employment.

Philosophical Contributions

Bacon’s major claim to fame lies in the area of philosophy. He is credited with developing the theory and practice of the scientific method. In his work Novum Organum Scientiarum (1620), Bacon published his method of inductive reasoning, also known as empirical reasoning. This method entails the use of observation and experiment to form a hypothesis, which Bacon believed was crucial to the advancement of science. He suggested that support for a hypothesis should be found through experimentation, data collection, and verification by more than one researcher.

Additionally, Bacon argued for the creation of learned societies that would conduct research according to the scientific method. His thought greatly influenced subsequent generations of scientific thinkers, all the way up to modern times.

Scientific Contributions

In addition to his philosophical contributions, Bacon also made significant scientific achievements. In his work The Advancement of Learning (1605), Bacon was the first to advocate for a method of categorizing knowledge that is closely related to the modern Dewey Decimal System.

Bacon’s scientific pursuits focused largely on mixtures and combinations of substances. He studied chemical reactions and wrote about various substances, including sulfuric acid and alkali. Bacon also examined the uses of magnets and developed a theory on motion and gravity.

Political Career

Bacon held a number of different political titles over the course of his life. He first got involved in politics in 1584, when he was appointed as a Member of Parliament. From 1618 to 1623, Bacon served as Lord Chancellor.

Bacon was a highly respected figure in the political sphere. He is credited with pushing for the establishment of colonies in North America, as well as his support for religious tolerance. His views on absolutism and republicanism were also widely acknowledged.

Later Life and Death

Bacon’s later years were fraught with personal and financial problems. In 1621, he had to flee the House of Commons due to allegations of bribery and corruption. Afterwards, he went into exile in France and Belgium.

In 1626, Bacon had a stroke and slowly recovered from it. He was slowly regaining his health and intellectual power until his death in 1626. Bacon died at the age of sixty-five and was buried at St. Michael’s Church, London.


Francis Bacon left a lasting legacy thanks to his groundbreaking philosophical and scientific contributions. He is usually considered the father of the scientific method and inductive reasoning, though he was not the first to describe the method in detail.

Today, the legacy of Bacon lives on in the form of the Royal Society, founded in 1660 and arguably the most influential scientific institution in the world. Bacon’s books Novum Organum and The Advancement of Learning are still widely read, and his philosophy is still applied in the modern world.

Throughout his life, Francis Bacon was a philosopher and scientist who was ahead of his time. He proposed the use of the scientific method which would revolutionize science and be the basis for research up until the present day. His ideas on categorizing knowledge, along with his passion for politics and religious tolerance, still form the foundation of modern thought. Overall, Bacon’s contribution to the world of science and philosophy is unquestionable and his legacy lives on in today’s institutions and beliefs.