Everyone should prepare answers to the questions on “Of
Studying.” In addition, work in groups to prepare responses to the questions about
the paired essays—one pair of essays per group. Our basic objective is to
identify Bacon’s main themes and ideas related to “man in his social setting."
“Of Truth” and “Of Simulation and Dissimulation”:
- What is the relationship between truth and lies? Does
humans’ penchant for lying make it impossible to know the truth?
- What is the relationship in “Of Truth” between sense,
imagination, reason, spirit, and truth?
- Could it be argued that Bacon’s interest in the
practical application of learning unites these two essays?
- See if you can make any connections between these two
essays and what Bacon says about rumor (Latin: fama) in “Of Seditions
and Troubles” (page 30).
“Of Marriage and Single Life” and “Of Love”:
- What sort of values and virtues does Bacon advocate in
- Do you see practical application here? How do marriage,
single life, and love relate to productive work in the public sphere?
- Can you connect Bacon’s insights on marriage,
single life, and love to what previous authors studied in this course have
said about these topics?
“Of Seditions and Troubles” and “Of Empire”:
- What advice does Bacon offer to rulers of states? Here
is another way to ask the same question: What qualities does Bacon believe a
ruler should possess?
- What is the relationship between liberty/tolerance and
power in Bacon’s recommendations? What principles of human psychology inform
- What things—including personal qualities—can derail a
ruler’s control of a state?
“Of Travel” and “Of Plantations”
- Again, what is the relationship between
liberty/tolerance and power in Bacon’s recommendations?
- Do you see any similarities or differences between these
two essays? Can you make any connections?
- In what ways do these essays develop Bacon’s theme of
the importance of learning’s practical application in the world?
“Of Studies” (1625 version)
- Do you see connections to what we have discussed in
other essays, particularly “Of Truth”?
- Bacon identifies different ways of reading in the right
column on page 46. Which one would he have us apply to these essays?
- Regarding the passage that begins right after footnote 2
and continues through the end of the essay: What does Bacon see as the
advantages of reading?
- What metaphors, analogies, and examples does Bacon use
in this essay? In his use of these devices, do you see him uniting learning
and practical application?
You will want to do the following things as you prepare
your paired essays for Wed.’s class
Map out the basic points in
each of the essays that I have just assigned to you.
For example, B&B will map out “Travel” and “Plantations.
By “map out” I mean an
outline that you can share with your classmates (and me) in handout form.
Seven copies will be needed.
Consider the questions on
the handout of daily questions. See
especially if you can make connections between your respective pairs of essays.
If you have a partner, try
to work together outside of class to construct your handout.
Obviously the e-mail system is your friend.
My goal, in other words, is to dial back my own role in the
discussion and to allow you to teach each other.
Focus on your assigned essays.
Come up with a handout that conveys their content and responds to the
questions on the handout. Then share
your discoveries with the rest of the class in some oral remarks.
This does not mean that you should read your handout, but it will serve
as a helpful reference point.