Francis Bacon of Verulam. Realistic philosophy and its age (1857) by Kuno Fischer

Francis Bacon of Verulam. Realistic philosophy and its age (1857) by Kuno  Fischer translated by Jony Oxenford

Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon



Ernst Kuno Berthold Fischer was a German philosopher, a historian of philosophy, and a critic.

Excerpt from  Kuno Fischer's introduction

The theatre of modem philosophy is a field of battle, wherein two opposite and hostile tendencies — Realism and Idealism — contend with each other in asserting claims to truth. These tendencies are not merely systems, but kinds of philosophy that in no age but a modern one could become so conscious of their mutual difference, or so definitely and clearly express it. If we were to compare scientific with dramatic opposition, the realistic and idealists would be the two adverse choruses in the drama of modern philosophy. The opposite parties will not be silent unto their union is effected, until the modes of thought, now strained against each other, become so interpenetrated, that both are saturated alike. For each lives only in the weaknesses and defects of its adversary.

It may be objected that the points of contact between the German and English philosophy — between Idealism and Realism — are less to be found in Bacon himself, than in some of his successors; that it was not Bacon, but Hume, who influenced Kant, not Bacon, but Locke, who influenced Leibnitz; that Spinoza, if he was affected by the English at all, was influenced not by Bacon but by Hobbes; and (as is well known) invariably spoke of Bacon in terms of contempt. To this, I shall answer that it was Bacon who was opposed by Descartes, the acknowledged founder of dogmatical idealism. As for those realists, who have come into contact with the opposite philosophy, as represented by Spinoza,

Bacon stands in the same relation to Realism as that in which Descartes stands to dogmatic Idealism, Leibnitz to German " enlightenment," Kant to modem philosophy. He opens the path which others pursue, by following his traces. Hence I have treated him as much in detail, the others as concisely as possible, having adopted a similar plan in another work with respect to Leibnitz and the German philosophers of the eighteenth century. The scientific importance which I attach to Bacon, and the limits set by the plan of my work, may justify this mode of treatment.

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