Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Dana Jalobeanu, Charles T. Wolfe

Travel Writing and Early Modern Experimental Philosophy

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20791-9_97-1



This topic explores the relationship between travel writing and experimental philosophy, touching on Francis Bacon, the Royal Society, and John Locke.

Travel Writing

The “Age of Discovery” is a period of European history running from the late fifteenth to the late seventeenth century. European ships set off around the world, mapping unfamiliar lands, seeking new trade routes, conquering and colonizing. Halfway through this period, travel writing became tangled with experimental philosophy.

In the early seventeenth century, philosophers argued we should obtain information about the world through observation and experiment. In this way we would create “natural histories” of existing things. Francis Bacon’s 1620 The Great Instauration (Instauratio Magna) listed dozens of topics for study, including seas, clouds, weather effects, the motions of the Earth, animals, and metals; see Bacon (1900, 372–81)....

Related Topics

Travel Exploration Discovery Induction 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDurham UniversityDurhamUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kirsten Walsh
    • 1
  1. 1.Sociology, Philosophy & AnthropologyUniversity of ExeterExeterUK