Roger Bacon

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Roger Bacon (c. 1214 – 1294), also known as Doctor Mirabilis (Latin: "wonderful teacher"), was an English theologian, philosopher and Franciscan friar. An English philosopher who placed considerable emphasis on empiricism, he was one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method. Later studies have emphasized his reliance on occult and alchemical traditions.

Sometimes known as the 'grandfather of science', he made a number of fundamental disoveries in the field of optics and chemistry, including gunpowder, but the scholastic practices of the period meant that his influence was limited.


All his theoretical writings were originally in Latin.

  • If in other sciences we should arrive at certainty without doubt and truth without error, it behooves us to place the foundations of knowledge in mathematics.
    • Opus Majus, bk. 1, ch. 4
  • Mathematics is the gate and key of the sciences. …Neglect of mathematics works injury to all knowledge, since he who is ignorant of it cannot know the other sciences or the things of this world.
    • Opus Majus
  • The strongest arguments prove nothing so long as the conclusions are not verified by experience. Experimental science is the queen of sciences and the goal of all speculation.
  • Argument is conclusive... but... it does not remove doubt, so that the mind may never rest in the sure knowledge of the truth, unless it finds it by the method of experiment. For if any man who never saw fire proved by satisfactory arguments that fire burns, his hearer's mind would never be satisfied, nor would he avoid the fire until he put his hand in it that he might learn by experiment what argument taught.
  • There are in fact four very different stumbling blocks in the way of grasping the truth, which hinder every man however learned, and scarcely allow anyone to win a clear title to wisdom, namely, the example of weak and unworthy authority, longstanding custom, the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own ignorance while making a display of our apparent knowledge.
  • Many secrets of art and nature are thought by the unlearned to be magical.

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