Roger Bacon was a medieval English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empiricism.
In the early modern era, he was regarded as a wizard and particularly famed for the story of his mechanical or necromantic brazen head.
He is sometimes credited (mainly since the 19th century) as one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method inspired by Aristotle and by Alhazen.
Roger Bacon was born in Ilchester in Somerset, England, in the early 13th century.
Roger Bacon linguistic work has been heralded for its early exposition of a universal grammar.
However, more recent re-evaluations emphasize that Bacon was essentially a medieval thinker, with much of his “experimental” knowledge obtained from books in the scholastic tradition.
The cryptic Voynich manuscript has been attributed to Bacon by various sources, including by its first recorded owner, but historians of science Lynn Thorndike and George Sarton dismissed these claims as unsupported.
By the early modern period, the English considered him the epitome of a wise and subtle possessor of forbidden knowledge, a Faust-like magician who had tricked the devil and so was able to go to heaven.
Roger Bacon Quotes:
1. “The conquest of learning is achieved through the knowledge of languages.”
2. “Neglect of mathematics work injury to all knowledge, since he who is ignorant of it cannot know the other sciences or things of this world. And what is worst, those who are thus ignorant are unable to perceive their own ignorance, and so do not seek a remedy.”
3. “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…”
4. “For the things of this world cannot be made known without a knowledge of mathematics.”
5. “Reasoning draws a conclusion, but does not make the conclusion certain, unless the mind discovers it by the path of experience.”
6. “If in other sciences we should arrive at certainty without doubt and truth without error, it behooves us to place the foundation of knowledge in mathematics.”
7. “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.”
8. “There are four chief obstacles in grasping truth … namely, submission to faulty and unworthy authority, influence of custom, popular prejudice, and the concealment of our own ignorance accompanied by an ostentatious display of our knowledge.”
9. “All sciences are connected; they lend each other material aid as parts of one great whole, each doing its own work, not for itself alone, but for the other parts; as the eye guides the body and the foot sustains it and leads it from place to place.”
10. “Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.”