The Political Philosophy of Francis Bacon

On the Unity of Knowledge

By Tom van Malssen

Subjects: Political Philosophy, Political Theory, History Of Science
Paperback : 9781438454160, 336 pages, January 2016
Hardcover : 9781438454177, 336 pages, January 2015

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Table of contents

1. The Art of Transmission
2. The Baconian Turn
3. The Trinity of Philosophy
4. The Masculine Rebirth of Time
5. The Perfective Son

An ambitious and radically original reading of philosopher Francis Bacon.


Comprehensive in its ambitions and meticulous in its approach, The Political Philosophy of Francis Bacon is a new and unique interpretation of one of early modernity's more important thinkers. Whereas recent works on Bacon tend to confine themselves either to interpreting his historical context or to considering the founder of Baconianism from the perspective of one work in particular or the history of science in general, Tom van Malssen argues, through detailed and provocative interpretations of a number of Baconian writings, that the unity of Bacon's thought can only be revealed if these writings are read in historical and philosophical conjunction as well as on the assumption that they are all somehow part of the whole of Bacon's political philosophy. In addition to restoring Bacon to the pantheon of great philosophers, Van Malssen demonstrates that a proper understanding of Bacon's political philosophy contributes significantly to our understanding of the nature of philanthropic science, the modern project, and ultimately ourselves.

Tom van Malssen holds a master's in law and a PhD in political philosophy. He currently works as a lawyer in the Netherlands.


"van Malssen's book is an important contribution to the conversation about a pivotal early modern thinker and political figure." — CHOICE

"This book will become an enduring pillar of our understanding of Bacon's philosophy. The scholarship and mastery of the historical sources, both philosophic and Biblical, are brilliant." — Jerry Weinberger, author of Science, Faith, and Politics: Francis Bacon and the Utopian Roots of the Modern Age: A Commentary on Bacon's Advancement of Learning

"The scholarship of Bacon in this book is masterful. It should transform and deepen the field, the 'field' being the nature and history of the philosophic life. This is arguably the most thoughtful, penetrating, and ultimately revealing book on Bacon ever written." — Svetozar Minkov, author of Francis Bacon's "Inquiry Touching Human Nature": Virtue, Philosophy, and the Relief of Man's Estate