16.619 Bacon influenced by Campanella?

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Tue Apr 15 2003 - 02:02:07 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 619.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 06:55:04 +0100
             From: "Domenico Fiormonte" <d.fiormonte@mclink.it>
             Subject: Query on Bacon and Campanella

    Dear colleagues,

    I am currently working on a book that will be published in Italy next
    September ("Scrittura e filologia nell'era digitale" = Writing and
    philology in the digital era). In the first part -- quite boldly I admit
    it... -- I ventured a chapter on the relationship between technology and
    their supports, i.e. the well-known (sometimes trivial) dicothomies orality
    vs. writing, print vs. computer, etc.

    I studied the contributions of Francis Bacon's leading expert Paolo Rossi,
    and found that Bacon is at the heart of all discussions about the emergence
    of the technological determinism (from
    Karl Marx up to Mumford and Leroi-Gourhan).

    I hope that you will forgive my naivety, but I am not an historian nor a
    philosopher of science, only a poor student of 'humanae litterae', so my
    link to Sir Bacon was initially the Italian XVII century thinker Tommaso

    The dilemma I am facing, and on which I am asking the help of the learned
    members of this list, is the following: is there any evidence that Bacon
    came across Campanella's works, namely his "De Monarchia Hispanica",
    before writing the Novum Organum (published about 20 years later)?
    Campanella wrote De Monarchia Hispanica in prison in around 1600, but it
    was only later that this book was published.

    As far as I know, there are few studies on the intellectual affinities
    between Bacon and Campanella (see for ex. Rossi's "I filosofi e le
    macchine"), but I could not found any clear reference to a direct
    relationship between the two philosophers.

    My curiosity (hence my query) was raised from this passage:

    "[...] Constat denique, quod, dum hostis & equis bella administrata
    fuerunt, Galli, Gothi, & Longobardi; dum vero gladiis, Romani
    imperium latius propagarunt. At postquam Astutia plus voluit
    Fortitudine, inventaeque Typographiae, & Tormenta bellica, rerum
    summa rediit ad Hispanos, homines sane impigros, fortes, & astutos."

    This incipit has extraordinary thematic similarities with a most- quoted
    paragraph of the Novum Organum (CXXIX):

    "[...] Rursus, vim et virtutem et consequentias rerum inventarum
    notare iuvat: quae non aliis manifestius occurrunt, quam in illis tribus
    quae antiquis incognitae, et quarum primordia, licet recentia, obscura et
    ingloria sunt: Artis nimirum Imprimendi, Pulveris Tormentarii, et Acus
    Nauticae. Haec enim tria rerum faciem et statum in orbe terrarum
    mutaverunt: primum, in re literaria; secundum, in re bellica; tertium, in
    navigationibus: unde innumerae rerum mutationes sequutae sunt; ut non
    imperium aliquod, non secta, non stella, majorem efficaciam et quasi
    influxum super res humanas exercuisse videatur, quam ista mechanica

    I am reading others works by Campanella in search of more references to the
    machine-progress (cause-and-effect) idea, but so far I did not find what I
    was looking for.

    Another way of putting the question is: who influenced whom?
    Is Campanella the source of Bacon or the way round?
    Perhaps that single -- but not isolated -- passage is a coincidence, but
    even if we can already state that Sir Bacon was not unaware of Campanella's
    thought, it would be interesting to know to which extent... (well, of
    course I have an opinion, as Borges would say, no one would search for an
    evidence without being certain about it...).

    I would be very grateful if you could help me to shed some light upon this
    dilemma; and of course any suggestion about readings on the
    Bacon-Campanella relationship would be most welcomed.

    Thanks in advance

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Domenico Fiormonte Professore a
    contratto di Informatica umanistica Universita' di Roma Tor Vergata /
    Universita' di Roma La Sapienza

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