I do not understand the last phrase from Francis Bacon. What does the nature of things exactly mean here? (This paragraph is from the book "the mechanical mind" written by Tim Crane)

However, there are philosophers who do reject the view wholesale, and not because of the inadequacies of the details. They believe that the real problem with the mechanical view of the mind is that it distorts – or even offers no account of – how our minds appear to us. It leaves out what is sometimes called the phenomenology of mind – where ‘phenomenology’ is the theory (‘ology’) of how things seem to us (the ‘phenomena’). These critics object that the mechanical mind leaves out all the facts about how our minds strike us, what it feels like to have a point of view on the world. As far as the mechanical approach to the mind is concerned, they say, this side of having a mind might as well not exist. The mechanical approach treats the mind as ‘a dead phenomenon, a blank agency imprinted with causally efficacious traces of recoverable encounters with bits of the environment’.1 Or, to borrow a striking phrase of Francis Bacon’s, the criticism is that the mechanical approach will ‘buckle and bow the mind unto the nature of things’.

1 Answer 1


See Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, Book II :

So as it appeareth that poesy serveth and conferreth to magnanimity, morality and to delectation. And therefore, it was ever thought to have some participation of divineness, because it doth raise and erect the mind, by submitting the shows of things to the desires of the mind; whereas reason doth buckle and bow the mind unto the nature of things.

Poetical imagination submits things to the desires of the mind, while reason is subject (limited) to the reality of things.

But it seems that Bacon is not (quite obviously) referring to mechanism...

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