Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/24

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21
BACON

credibility of the divine mysteries accepted. Bacon however believes in the possibility of a purely natural theology. The very uniformity of natural causation reveals the existence of deity.

In ethics Bacon makes a distinction between the theory of the moral idea (de exemplari) and the theory of the development of the will (de cultura anima). The former he finds thoroughly elaborated by the ancients; but the latter has received but very little attention hitherto.

B. The New Conception of the World

The middle ages developed its theory of nature as well as that of the spiritual life on the foundation of Greek antiquity—except where its ideas were derived from the Bible and Christian tradition.—They received their theory of medicine from Galen, their astronomy from Ptolemy, their philosophy from Aristotle. Their world view was a combination of the theories of Aristotle and Ptolemy with the Biblical doctrines: the earth is stationary and forms the center of the universe; the sun, moon, planets and the fixed stars, attached to firm but transparent spheres, revolve around it. The sub-lunar world, i.e. the earth and the space intervening between the earth and the moon, is the realm of change and death. Here the four elements (Earth, Water, Air, Fire) are in a state of constant motion. Each seeks its “natural place.” Weight consists of the natural tendency to descend, lightness consists of the tendency to ascend. Beyond this moon-sphere is the realm of ether, consisting of matter which has no “natural place,” which is therefore capable of continuing its motion eternally with absolute regularity. The motions of the heavenly bodies—due to this absolute regularity—are a direct copy of the nature