Georgics of the mind and the architecture of fortune: Francis Bacon's therapeutic ethics
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AbstractThis essay complements recent work by Soreana Corneanu situating Bacon&rsquo;s epistemology in a larger lineage of literature concerning &lsquo;cultura animi&rsquo; in early modern Europe, by focusing on Bacon&rsquo;s conception of a therapeutic philosophical &lsquo;Georgics of the mind&rsquo; in The Advancement of Learning, the Essays, and other texts. We aim to show firstly (in Part 2) how Bacon&rsquo;s conception of human nature, and the importance of habit and custom, reflects the ancient pagan thinkers&rsquo; justifications of philosophical therapeutics. Attention will also be paid in this connection to Bacon&rsquo;s sensitivity to another marker of ancient therapeutic philosophy as Pierre Hadot in particular has recently presented it: the proliferation of different rhetorical and literary forms aiming at different pedagogic, therapeutic, and psychogogic aims. Part 3 then will examine Bacon&rsquo;s changes in practical or &lsquo;magistral&rsquo; philosophy, carried out on the therapeutic ethical grounds which Part 2 has examined, but proposing a much more active &lsquo;architecture of fortune&rsquo; to philosophical and political aspirants.