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Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban (//; 22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. Bacon led the advancement of both natural philosophy and the scientific method and his works remained influential even in the late stages of the Scientific Revolution.
The Viscount St Alban
|Lord High Chancellor of England|
7 March 1617 – 3 May 1621
|Preceded by||Sir Thomas Egerton|
|Succeeded by||John Williams|
|Attorney General of England and Wales|
26 October 1613 – 7 March 1617
|Preceded by||Sir Henry Hobart|
|Succeeded by||Sir Henry Yelverton|
22 January 1561
The Strand, London, England
|Died||9 April 1626 65) (aged|
Highgate, Middlesex, England
|Resting place||St. Michael's Church, St. Albans|
|Education||Trinity College, Cambridge (no degree)|
Gray's Inn (call to bar)
|Notable works||Works by Francis Bacon|
|Other names||Lord Verulam|
|Notable work||Novum Organum|
Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. He argued for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only upon inductive reasoning and careful observation of events in nature. He believed that science could be achieved by the use of a sceptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves. Although his most specific proposals about such a method, the Baconian method, did not have long-lasting influence, the general idea of the importance and possibility of a sceptical methodology makes Bacon one of the later founders of the scientific method. His portion of the method based in scepticism was a new rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, whose practical details are still central to debates on science and methodology. He is famous for his role in the scientific revolution, begun during the Middle Ages, promoting scientific experimentation as a way of glorifying God and fulfilling scripture. He was renowned as a politician in Elizabethan England, as he held the office of Lord Chancellor.
Bacon was a patron of libraries and developed a system for cataloguing books under three categories – history, poetry, and philosophy – which could further be divided into specific subjects and subheadings. About books he wrote, "Some books are to be tasted; others swallowed; and some few to be chewed and digested." The Shakespearean authorship thesis, which was first proposed in the mid-19th century, contends that Bacon wrote at least some and possibly all of the plays conventionally attributed to William Shakespeare.
Bacon was educated at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, where he rigorously followed the medieval curriculum, which was presented largely in Latin. He was the first recipient of the Queen's counsel designation, conferred in 1597 when Elizabeth I reserved him as her legal advisor. After the accession of James I in 1603, Bacon was knighted, then created Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount St Alban in 1621. He had no heirs and so both titles became extinct on his death in 1626 at the age of 65. He died of pneumonia, with one account by John Aubrey stating that he had contracted it while studying the effects of freezing on meat preservation. He is buried at St Michael's Church, St Albans, Hertfordshire.