This chapter sheds light on the final version of Bacon’s Essays, an early modern advice book that weaves together different and often contrasting Renaissance lines of thought. When offering his Counsels, civil and moral Bacon was in fact deeply influenced by Machiavelli’s pessimistic view of man and combined it not only with the new Tacitean humanism that laid emphasis on private and personal interests, but also with Ciceronian ideas and Machiavellian republican arguments that prioritised public duty. He thereby continuously oscillated between common and personal good, generating ambiguities and ambivalences that should be neither emphasised nor minimised but instead related to his view of moral philosophy as a therapy that needed to be grounded on a realistic diagnosis of human nature in order to heal the mind of its perturbations and misleading tendencies. In Of Friendship the connection between Bacon’s advice and the doctrine of the idols is clearer than anywhere else. Moreover this essay developed a very interesting reflection on friendship that is suspended between past and future. On the one hand, Bacon was the heir to the authors of the fifteenth-century ‘mirrors for princes’, who used the language of friendship to describe the counselors of the prince. On the other, he conceived friendship in terms that would be familiar to us today: a private and intimate relationship of mutual affection between people committed to taking care of one another. Bacon’s view of friendship confirms that Renaissance ways of thinking continued to be far-reaching and were inseparable from new, more modern, conceptions.

Ethics, Politics, and Friendship in Bacon’s Essays (1625): Between Past and Future / A. Ceron (ARCHIVES INTERNATIONALES D'HISTOIRE DES IDÉES). - In: Early Modern Philosophers and the Renaissance Legacy / [a cura di] G. Paganini e C. Muratori. - Prima edizione. - [s.l] : Springer, 2016. - ISBN 9783319326023. - pp. 203-219

Ethics, Politics, and Friendship in Bacon’s Essays (1625): Between Past and Future

A. Ceron
2016

Abstract

This chapter sheds light on the final version of Bacon’s Essays, an early modern advice book that weaves together different and often contrasting Renaissance lines of thought. When offering his Counsels, civil and moral Bacon was in fact deeply influenced by Machiavelli’s pessimistic view of man and combined it not only with the new Tacitean humanism that laid emphasis on private and personal interests, but also with Ciceronian ideas and Machiavellian republican arguments that prioritised public duty. He thereby continuously oscillated between common and personal good, generating ambiguities and ambivalences that should be neither emphasised nor minimised but instead related to his view of moral philosophy as a therapy that needed to be grounded on a realistic diagnosis of human nature in order to heal the mind of its perturbations and misleading tendencies. In Of Friendship the connection between Bacon’s advice and the doctrine of the idols is clearer than anywhere else. Moreover this essay developed a very interesting reflection on friendship that is suspended between past and future. On the one hand, Bacon was the heir to the authors of the fifteenth-century ‘mirrors for princes’, who used the language of friendship to describe the counselors of the prince. On the other, he conceived friendship in terms that would be familiar to us today: a private and intimate relationship of mutual affection between people committed to taking care of one another. Bacon’s view of friendship confirms that Renaissance ways of thinking continued to be far-reaching and were inseparable from new, more modern, conceptions.
Human Nature; Human Mind; Moral Philosophy; Political Life; Moral Knowledge
Settore SPS/02 - Storia delle Dottrine Politiche
Settore M-FIL/06 - Storia della Filosofia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/828117
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