Abstract

abstract:

This paper critically examines Stephen Gaukroger's claim that "The list of prerogative or privileged instances [in Bacon's Novum Organum II] … serve very much the function of the topics, as conceived by Aristotle … and by his Renaissance followers as rhetorical guide." Gaukroger's comparison of the prerogatives with the topics provides a basis for an inclusive account of the twenty-seven prerogative instances, including those clearly intended by Bacon as preparatory devices for retraining the mind. Reading the prerogatives backwards in light of the topics, rather than forwards in light of subsequent scientific practices, also allows us to see how different the prerogative instances are, as a "post-topical" discipline of observation of natural phenomena, from their rhetorical forbearers, allowing us to measure accurately the extent of Bacon's innovation in the theorization of discovery.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 429-454
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-10
Open Access
No
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