Francis Bacon on Induction - Dictionary of Arguments
Gadamer I 354
Induction/Francis Bacon/Gadamer: It is the special achievement of Bacon (...) that he is not content with the immanent logical task of developing the theory of experience as the theory of a true induction, but that he has discussed the whole moral difficulty and anthropological questionability of such an experiential achievement. His method of induction seeks to rise above the random and accidental manner in which everyday experience is produced, and even more so above its dialectical use. In this context, he has, in a way heralding the new age of methodological research, upset the theory of induction, which is still represented in humanistic scholasticism, because of its enumeratio simplex.
Induction: The concept of induction makes use of the fact that generalization is based on random observation and, as long as no counter-instance is encountered, claims validity. As is well known, Bacon contrasts anticipatio, this hasty generalization of daily experience, with interpretatio naturae, the knowledgeable interpretation of the true being of nature(1).
Interpretation: Through methodically organized experiments, it should allow the gradual ascent to the true, durable generalities, the simple forms of nature. This true method is characterized by the fact that the mind is not left to itself there(2). He's not allowed to fly the way he wants. Rather, the requirement is to ascend gradatim (step by step) from the particular to the general in order to acquire an orderly experience and to avoid all haste(3).
Experiment: The method that Bacon himself demands, is an experimental one(4).
However, it should be borne in mind that the experiment in Bacon does not always mean the technical event of the natural scientist who artificially induces processes under isolating conditions and makes them measurable. Rather, experiment is also, and above all, the artistic guidance of our mind, which is prevented from allowing itself to be led by hasty generalisations, and who consciously varies the observations he makes on nature, consciously confronting the most remote, apparently most divergent cases, and thus gradually and continuously learns to arrive at the axioms by way of a process of exclusion(5). (See >Thought Experiments). GadamerVsBacon: >Francis Bacon/Gadamer.
1. F. Bacon, Nov. Org. I, 26ff.
2. A.a.O. 1, 20f; 104.
3. A.a.O. l, 19ff.
4. A. a. O. vgl. insbesondere die „distributio operis«.
5. A.a.O. 1,22, 08_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977