Seeing All Their Insides: Science, Animal Experimentation and Aesop

  • Erica Fudge


In The Advancement of Learning Francis Bacon wrote ‘it is not good to stay too long in the theatr.’1 Where for Reformed thinkers the spectacle of the theatre displaced judgement and watching was a dangerous thing, and for Jonson the humanist looking was not a threat to the human but was the thing which actually proved the human an animal, Bacon also viewed the theatre with suspicion. But for him the theatre was a threat for a very different reason: because of its fictitiousness. The visual nature of the theatre which so disturbed the human in Reformed and humanist ideas was, in fact, vital to the development of the new science and to the expansion of the power of humanity which the new science proclaimed. The truths of science were only enacted through the sight: Bacon wrote ‘For I admit nothing but on the faith of eyes, or at least of careful and severe examination; so that nothing is exaggerated for wonder’s sake, but what I state is sound and without mixture of fables or vanity.’2 The visual is at the heart of the new science: to see is to believe.


Scientific Endeavour Early Modern Period Human Power Humanist Idea Medieval Text 
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Copyright information

© Erica Fudge 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erica Fudge
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Humanities and Cultural StudiesMiddlesex UniversityUK

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