Roger Bacon

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Roger Bacon was an English Philosopher who placed considerable emphasis on empiricism, and is believed to be one of the earliest advocates of the modern scientific method. Roger Bacon played a key role in the early stages of the movement which eventually led to the Scientific Revolution. Instead of relying on rational deductions from the statements of ancient authorities for truths about the natural world, he advocated that confirmation by observation or experiment using the methods of mathematics should be required. While not successful in having his ideas accepted during his lifetime, his writings brought attention to this new way of thinking. He is regarded as an important medieval proponent of experimental science.

Roger was not the oldest of his parent's sons so he would not have been expected to inherit the family estates and wealth. It is likely that his parents would have expected him to have become a priest which was the usual route for a son, other than the first, of a family in their position. Although there is no record of Roger's education before he entered Oxford University it is likely that he would have been taught Latin and arithmetic by the local priest to prepare him for university studies (where all teaching was carried out in Latin). At the age of thirteen he entered Oxford University, his father putting up the money for his board, subsistence, and tuition. He excelled in his studies tremendously while attending this University. Eventually he became a well known lecturer.

The teaching of Aristotle had been banned at the University of Paris for several years on the grounds that Aristotle was not a Christian. However in the early 1240’s, Paris reintroduced the teachings of Aristotle into their courses. They looked to the young lecturer Bacon, who had become an expert on Aristotle’s ideas. He joined the Faculty of Arts in Paris, which was divided into four administrative units, three being French and one being English. Bacon had joined the...
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