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Roger Bacon OFM (/ˈbkən/;[6] Latin: Rogerus or Rogerius Baconus, Baconis, also Frater Rogerus; c. 1219/20 – c. 1292), also known by the scholastic accolade Doctor Mirabilis, 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. Bacon applied the empirical method of Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) to observations in texts attributed to Aristotle. Bacon discovered the importance of empirical testing when the results he obtained were different than those that would have been predicted by Aristotle.[7][8] (Aristotle had never performed experiments to verify his explanations of his observations of nature.[citation needed])

His linguistic work has been heralded for its early exposition of a universal grammar. However, more recent[when?] re-evaluations emphasise that Bacon was essentially a medieval thinker, with much of his "experimental" knowledge obtained from books in the scholastic tradition.[9] He was, however, partially responsible for a revision of the medieval university curriculum, which saw the addition of Roger Bacon OFM (/ˈbkən/;[6] Latin: Rogerus or Rogerius Baconus, Baconis, also Frater Rogerus; c. 1219/20 – c. 1292), also known by the scholastic accolade Doctor Mirabilis, 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. Bacon applied the empirical method of Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) to observations in texts attributed to Aristotle. Bacon discovered the importance of empirical testing when the results he obtained were different than those that would have been predicted by Aristotle.[7][8] (Aristotle had never performed experiments to verify his explanations of his observations of nature.[citation needed])

His linguistic work has been heralded for its early exposition of a universal grammar. However, more recent[when?] re-evaluations emphasise that Bacon was essentially a medieval thinker, with much of his "experimental" knowledge obtained from books in the scholastic tradition.[9] He was, however, partially responsible for a revision of the medieval university curriculum, which saw the addition of optics to the traditional quadrivium.[10]

Bacon's major work, the Opus Majus, was sent to Pope Clement IV in Rome in 1267 upon the pope's request. Although gunpowder was first invented and described in China, Bacon was the first in Europe to record its formula.

With regard to religion's influence on Bacon's philosophy, Charles Sanders Peirce noted, "To Roger Bacon,... the schoolmen's conception of reasoning appeared only an obstacle to truth... [but] Of all kinds of experience, the best, he thought, was interior illumination, which teaches many things about Nature which the external senses could never discover, such as the transubstantiation of bread."[147]

In In Oxford lore, Bacon is credited as the namesake of Folly Bridge for having gotten himself placed under house arrest nearby.[148] Although this is probably untrue,[149] it had formerly been known as "Friar Bacon's Bridge".[150] Bacon is also honoured at Oxford by a plaque affixed to the wall of the new Westgate shopping centre.[148]

To commemorate the 700th anniversary of Bacon's approximate year of birth, Prof. J. Erskine wrote the biographical play A Pageant of the Thirteenth Century, which was performed and published by Columbia University in 1914.[151][152] A fictionalised account of Bacon's life and times also appears in the second book of James Blish's After Such Knowledge trilogy, the 1964 Doctor Mirabilis.[153] Bacon serves as a mentor to the protagonists of Thomas Costain's 1945 The Black Rose,[154][155] and Umberto Eco's 1980 The Name of the Rose.[156] Greene's play prompted a less successful sequel John of Bordeaux and was recast as a children's story for James Baldwin's 1905 Thirty More Famous Stories Retold.[157] "The Brazen Head of Friar Bacon" also appears in Daniel Defoe's 1722 Journal of the Plague Year, Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1843 "The Birth-Mark" and 1844 "The Artist of the Beautiful", William Douglas O'Connor's 1891 "The Brazen Android" (where Bacon devises it to terrify King Henry into accepting Simon de Montfort's demands for greater democracy),[158][159] John Cowper Powys's 1956 The Brazen Head, and Robertson Davies's 1970 Fifth Business.[160] In the fan fiction serial Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Harry is given Bacon's diary.

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