Golden Recursion Inc. logoGolden Recursion Inc. logo
Advanced Search
Roger Bacon

Roger Bacon

Medieval philosopher and theologian


Roger Bacon was born around 1214 in England, Ilchester, Somerset. Date of death 1292, Oxford, England. Roger Bacon is known as the Amazing Doctor (lat. Doctor Mirabilis) - an English philosopher and naturalist. In 1257 he entered the Franciscan order.


There is no direct evidence that could accurately indicate the time of Bacon's birth. The most probable date of his birth is considered to be 1214, although arguments have been put forward in favor of 1210 (Ch. Jourdain) and 1220 (D. Lindbergh).

Bacon was born in Ilchester, Somerset. Bacon's family was financially secure. In his notes, Bacon wrote that he could spend more than two thousand pounds on books, tables, instruments, and other things necessary for his scientific work. However, the support of Henry III in the fight against Simon de Montfort and the barons led the Bacon family to financial ruin and exile. In 1266, Bacon asked the brothers to send money, but Bacon's request was not answered. It is known that Bacon had brothers, one of whom was a scientist. Bacon was educated at Oxford and Paris Universities (M.A., 1241).

Until 1247 he taught at the University of Paris - lectured on Aristotle at the Faculty of Arts. (Aristotle 384/383-323 BC - the greatest ancient Greek thinker, logician, creator of the philosophical language).

During his stay in Paris, Bacon gained fame thanks to his disputes with the scholastics (a scholastic is a philosopher-adherent to scholasticism, a person who philosophizes scholastically, his thoughts are not built on life experience and do not follow from practice).

Bacon received his Ph.D. and earned the honorary title "doctor mirabilis".

In 1250, Bacon returned to Oxford, where he taught at the university, in the same year Bacon joined the Franciscan order (Franciscans are a group of related mendicant Christian religious orders, mainly within the Catholic Church).

Bacon's fame quickly spread in Oxford. Bacon was suspected of being addicted to black magic and apostasy from the dogmas of the true church, this greatly undermined Bacon's reputation. Around 1257, the General of the Order of Bonaventure forbade Bacon's lectures at Oxford, ordered him to leave the city and gave him under the supervision of the order to the Franciscan monastery in Paris. It was only thanks to the patronage of Pope Clement IV, who took the throne in 1265, that Bacon was able to publish three large treatises: The Great Labor (Opus maius), The Lesser Labor (Opus minus, an addition to the Great) and The Third Labor ( Opus tertium, a summary of the ideas of the "Big"). As an appendix to Opus maius and Opus minus, a special treatise De multiplicatione specierum was also sent to Pope Clement IV, in which the natural philosophical views of Roger Bacon are reflected. However, the death of Pope Clement IV, which followed in 1267, buried Bacon's hopes for the implementation of his plans.

In 1268 Bacon received permission to return to Oxford, where he continued his studies in the sciences.

In the late 1260s, Bacon completed his Communia mathematica and Communia naturalium. The Compendium studii philosophie was completed around 1272. The first two treatises are a presentation and consideration of the most general and basic issues of mathematics and physics.

In 1278, for making sharp attacks on the ignorance and depravity of the clergy and monks, Bacon was accused of heresy and placed under house arrest (or in prison). Researchers agree that Bacon was arrested, but there is no exact data on the period of imprisonment. It is only known that in 1292 Bacon was at large, and worked on the composition of the Compendium studii theologie, which is known in fragments and was not completed. Around 1292 Roger Bacon died.


Roger Bacon's writings are numerous. They can be divided into two categories: still in manuscript and printed. An enormous number of manuscripts are in the British and French libraries, among which there are many valuable works in the sense that they explain the essence of Bacon's philosophy. Bacon's more important manuscripts are: "Communia Naturalium" (located in the Mazarin Library in Paris, in the British Museum, in the Bodleian Library and in the library of University College, Oxford); "De Communibus Mathematicae", part in the Sloane collections, in the British Museum, part in the Bodleian Library; "Baconis Physica" is found between additional manuscripts in the British Museum; excerpts from Quinta Pars Compendii Theolögiae in the British Museum; "Metaphysics", at the National Library in Paris; "Compendium Studii Theolögiae", in the British Museum; extracts from "Summa Dialectices", in the Bodleian Library and interpretations on the physics and metaphysics of Aristotle - in the library in Amiens.

Philosophical views

Bacon believed that only mathematics, as a science, is the most reliable and undoubted. With its help, you can check the data of all other sciences. Bacon argued that mathematics is the easiest of the sciences and is accessible to everyone. Bacon singled out two types of experience: 1 - real, life experience, which can be acquired only in the process of life; and 2 - experience - proof obtained through external senses. Experience concerns only material objects. But there is still a spiritual experience, Bacon argued, which can only be known to selected people through a mystical state, through inner illumination. This idea anticipated the emergence of ideas about heuristic insight and the role of intuition in science.

Bacon was actively involved in alchemy, astrology and optics. He tried to introduce elements of science into alchemy. He divided alchemy into speculative (theoretical), which explores the composition and origin of metals and minerals, and practical, dealing with the extraction and purification of metals, the preparation of paints. He believed that alchemy could be of great benefit to medicine, anticipating to some extent the ideas of Paracelsus.

Essays printed:

"Spèculum Alchimoae" - 1541, translated into English in 1597;

"De mirabili potestate artis et naturae" - 1542, English translation 1659;

Libellus de retardandis senectutis accidentibus et sensibus confirmandis, 1590, translated into English, as was Cure of Old Age, 1683;

Medicinae magistri D. Rog. Baconis anglici de arte chymiae scripta" - 1603, a collection of small treatises containing "Excerpta de libro Avicennae de Anima, Brè ve Breviarium, Verbum Abbreviatum", at the end of which is placed a strange note ending with the words: "Ipse Rogerus fuit discipulus Alberti!" ;

"Secretum Secretorum, Tractatus trium verborum et Speculum Secretorum";

"Perspectiva" - 1614, is the fifth part of "Opus Majus";

"Specula Mathematica" (makes the fourth part of the same work);

"Opus Majus ad Clementem IV" published by Jebb, 1733.

"Opera hactenus mèdita" (by J. S. Brewer, 1859, containing "Opus Tertium", "Opus Minus", "Compendum studu philosophiae" and "De secretis operibus naturae").

Major works

"Great composition" ("Opus Majus"),

"Small composition" ("Opus Minus"),

"Third Composition" ("Opus Tertium"),

"Compendium of Philosophy" ("Compendium Studii Philosophiae")


January 1, 1220
Roger Bacon was born in Somerset.


Further Resources



Search on Google News
Search on Bing News
John Browne
December 10, 2019
Scientific American Blog Network
Instead, focus on making artificial intelligence controllable and responsive to human needs


Golden logo
By using this site, you agree to our Terms & Conditions.