The Scientific Method,
Francis Bacon and Rene
I can outline the steps of the Scientific Method and
explain how Bacon and Descartes influenced its
development. I can explain how changes in scientific
thought effected European culture and thinking.
Who was Francis Bacon?
Francis Bacon lived from 1561-1626 in England.
He came from a noble family and was well-educated.
He held government positions and was made a knight.
He is considered a philosopher (thinker) rather than a
He studied the writings of the great scientists of his time and
was very interested in their work.
He did not develop any knew theories. Instead, he developed
a system to explore the world.
He taught that scientific study should follow a predictable pattern.
His ideas are found in his many books. The Advancement of
Learning first laid out his ideas in 1605.
Who was Rene Descartes?
Descartes was born in France and lived from 1596-1650.
He came from a learned family and was given an education which
included classical studies, mathematics and philosophy.
He studied law at the university and then took a military position with the
leader of the Netherlands.
He was interested in a number of topics including geometry, optics and
meteors. He wrote essays on his areas of study and he is famous for his
He is sometimes called the Father of Modern Philosophy. He responsible
for a very famous quote: Cogito, ergo sum, “I think, therefore I am.”
He taught that people should doubt everything until it could be proven
Development of the
The thinking/writing of Bacon and Descartes
led to the development of a procedure for
doing scientific experiments and research.
From Bacon comes the idea of a systematic
From Descartes comes the idea of requiring
proof and clear reasoning.
The Six Steps
of the Scientific Method
1. State the problem (define the question)
2. Gather information (read other sources
3. Form hypothesis (proposed solution)
4. Perform experiment and collect data
5. Record and analyze data
6. Draw conclusions from the data collected
The Scientific Revolution Effected
European Culture and Thinking.
Philosophers began applying scientific
thought to other areas of human life.
Attempts to use reason and logic for the
improvement of society caused people to
reevaluate their governments. This caused a
resurgence of democratic ideals.
Growth in the area of science challenged
some teachings of the Catholic Church. This
caused an undermining of Church influence.