Roger Bacon, English philosopher

Roger Bacon, English philosopher

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Credit: GARY BROWN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Caricature of the English philosopher and Franciscan friar Roger Bacon (Doctor Mirabilis, 1214-1294). Bacon placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods. He is sometimes credited as one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method inspired by Aristotle and later Arabic scholars such as the Muslim scientist Alhazen. Between 1237 and 1245, he began lecturing at the University of Paris, then the centre of European intellectual life. In 1256 he became a friar in the Franciscan Order, and no longer held a teaching post. After 1260, his activities were restricted by a Franciscan statute prohibiting friars from publishing books or pamphlets without prior approval. He circumvented this through his acquaintance with Pope Clement IV who issued a mandate ordering Bacon to write to him concerning the place of philosophy within theology.

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