David Colclough
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Ethics and politics in the New Atlantis

The New Atlantis is a text about natural philosophy which seems to offer connections at almost every point with moral and political philosophy. Francis Bacon's had shown himself willing and able to treat what he considered the most pressing issues of political and ethical theory and practical negotiation. Markku Peltonen stresses that the repeated identification of Bacon's philosophical with his political thought relies upon a 'rhetorical similarity'. Bensalem, the island conforms, as it soon becomes clear in the New Atlantis, to virtually all of Bacon's social and political criteria for the reform of knowledge. Bensalem's use of the Merchants of Light represents the proper Baconian relationship of the present to the past, and of the natural philosopher to his 'ancient' forebears. In the New Atlantis, the practice of science appears to be kept institutionally and geographically separate from politics, with considerable autonomy being given to the scientific community.

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Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

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