|Among the predecessors of St. Thomas in the thirteenth century were
Simon of Tournai, Alexander Neckam, Alfred Sereshel, William of
Auvergne, Alexander of Hales, John de la Rochelle, and Albert
the Great. St. Bonaventure, the contemporary and friend of
St. Thomas, and Roger Bacon, the adversary of both St.
Bonaventure and St. Thomas, are also included in this chapter.|
Simon of Tournai, Alexander Neckam,  and Alfred
Sereshel  (Alfredus Anglicus) began, about the end of the twelfth
century and the beginning of the thirteenth, to expound the physical
and physiological doctrines of Aristotle and the Arabians. They taught
and wrote before the introduction of the translations made from the
Greek text of Aristotle, and were attacked by the mystics as innovators
and teachers of profane doctrine.
 Alexander's principal work, De Naturis Rerum Libri Duo, was
edited by Thomas Wright (London, 1863), and is No. 34 of the collection
Rerum Britannicarum Medii AEvi Scrtiptores.
WILLIAM OF AUVERGNE
 Alfred's work, De Motu Cordis, was edited by Barach
Life. William of Auvergne (called also William of Paris) was
born at Aurillac towards the close of the twelfth century. About 1220
he was appointed to teach in the episcopal school at Paris, and in a
few years he became one of the most celebrated of the theologians of
the university. In 1228 he became bishop of Paris. He died in 1249.
Sources. The principal works of William of Auvergne are a
metaphysical treatise De Universo, and two psychological
treatises, De Anima and De Immortalitate Animae.  His
collected works were published at Nuremberg in 1496, at Venice in 1591,
and at Orleans in 1674. Monograph: Die Erkenntnislehre des Wilhelm
von Auvergne, by Dr. Baumgartner (Münster, 1893).
 This compilation of a work by Dominicus Gundisalvi is published by
Dr. Bulow, Des Dominicus Gundissalinus Schrift von der
Unsterblichkeit der Seele (Münster, 1897), pp. 39 ff.
William has for his aim to unite the newly introduced philosophy of
Aristotle with the philosophy of St. Augustine and the other
Platonists. When, however, he finds that the doctrines of the Arabian
Aristotle clash with those of the Christian Platonists, he adopts the
traditional Augustinian teaching.
In his theory of knowledge he rejects, on the one hand, the
Platonic doctrines of preexistence and of innate ideas, and on the
other hand, the Aristotelian doctrine of the active intellect, teaching
that, although the soul obtains a knowledge of sensible things from the
world of sense phenomena, it is able, nevertheless, to form the
species of things in itself and by itself; that is,
without the aid of a power such as the active intellect, distinct from
itself. Thus,  he says, "Similiter (anima) non est recipiens tantum
sed etiam actrix et effectrix earum (i.e., specierum) apud semetipsam
in semetipsa." Roger Bacon, therefore, was wrong when, after having
listened to two lectures by William of Auvergne, he ascribed to him the
opinion: "Intellectus Agens est Deus principaliter et secundarlo Angeli qui illuminant nos."  In
De Universo William explicitly declares that the intellect
"levissime commotus (a rebus) earum species ipse sibi ipsi semetipso
 De An., Q. V, Art. 6 (Orleans edition, p. 124
Our knowledge of first principles is obtained, William of Auvergne
teaches, not from the contingent world, but from God, in whom we
perceive them by means of a "special illumination (voluntaria Dei
illuxio").  In his solution of the problem of universals he seems to
incline towards Platonic realism:
 Opus Tertium, Cap. 23.
 P. I, Sect. III, Cap. 3.
Necesse est res intelligibiles ita se habere sicut de eis testificatur
intellectus. Testificatur autem eas esse communes, sempiternas, et
seorsum a generatione et corruptione et ab omni tumultu mutationum. 
 De An., VII, 6, p. 211.
The passage is, however, capable of being interpreted in the
 De Universo, P. II, Sect. III, Cap. 13.
Historical Position. William of Auvergne represents the first
stage in the transition from the Scholasticism of the twelfth to that
of the thirteenth century. It was Alexander of Hales who, by the use of
the Scholastic method, constructed the first of the great systems of
ALEXANDER OF HALES
Life. Alexander of Hales,  Doctor Irrefragabilis, was
born in Gloucestershire, England. In 1222 he joined the order of St.
Francis. In 1231 he was installed as the first Franciscan teacher of
theology in the University of Paris. He died in 1245.
 Alexander derived his surname from Hales, or Haillis, in
Sources. The principal if not the only work of Alexander of
Hales is the Summa Theologiae, which was completed by his pupils
in 1252, and published at Nuremberg in 1482 and at Venice in 1575.
Works to be consulted: M. Picavet, Abélard et Alexandre de
Hales (brochure), De Martigne, La Scolastique et les traditions
Franciscaines (Paris, 1888).
Method. Alexander of Hales was the first schoolman who wrote
after the entire works of Aristotle had become known in the schools,
and the prohibition that debarred some of his predecessors from the
study of Aristotle had been removed. His is not the first Summa,
Robert of Melun and Stephen Langton having composed Summae in
the twelfth century; Alexander's is, however, the first Summa
made after the introduction of Aristotle's works. In it we find the
Scholastic method fully developed. Instead of the array of antithetical
opinions found in Abelard's Sic et Non we find the tripartite
arrangement of each question, corresponding to the arrangement
afterwards made by St. Thomas under the heads Videtur quod non, Sed
contra and Respondetur ad Ium, etc.
Besides giving definite form to the Scholastic method, Alexander
outlined the plan which St. Thomas and the other great summists were to
Metaphysics. Human reason can arrive at a knowledge of the
existence of God, but not at a knowledge of His essence: we can know
quia est, but not quid est.  Alexander admits the
validity of St. Anselm's ontological argument,  maintaining that a
knowledge of God is natural to man: "Cognitio de Deo in habitu
naturaliter nobis impressa est." He distinguishes, however, between
cognitio actualis and cognitio potentialis.
 Summa, P. I, Q. II, Memb. 2, Art. I.
God is actus purus. Everything else (all created being), is
composed of matter and form. Even spiritual substances are composed of
spiritual matter, "quae nec est subjecta motui nec contrarietati." This
universal matter is different from the universal matter which,
according to Avicebrol, is the substratum of all finite existence, for
Alexander rejects the pantheistic and Neo-Platonic elements of
 Ibid., Q. III, Memb. 2.
With regard to universals, Alexander teaches, in the first place, that
they exist ante rem in the mind of God. The Divine Mind is, he thinks, the intelligible world of which Plato speaks:
"Mundum intelligibilem nuncupavit Plato ipsam rationem sempiternam qua
fecit Deus mundum."  In the next place, he teaches that the universals
are in re; this may be inferred from his doctrine that the active
intellect abstracts the intelligible species from phantasms. 
 Summa, P. II, Q. III, Memb. 1, with reference to St. Augustine's
Psychology. Alexander's psychology, while it is Peripatetic in
its general trend, bears evidence of the influence of the Augustinian
idea of the soul and its faculties. In the Summa,  our
philosopher examines seven different definitions of the soul, and
decides that the soul, although it is the substantial form of the body,
is itself composed of a spiritual matter -- an admission which, as the
later schoolmen conclusively show, is incompatible with the substantial
unity of man. In his enumeration of the faculties of the soul, he
follows the traditional Augustinian division of the powers of the mind
into ratio, which has for object the external world,
intellectus, which has for object created spiritual substances,
and intelligentia, which has for object the rationes
aeternae and first principles. Our knowledge of the supersensible
world by means of intellect and intelligence is dependent
on a special divine illumination.  Our knowledge of the external
world is rendered possible by the active intellect, which
abstracts intelligible species from the material intellect
(phantasia). The possible intellect, the receptacle of these
species, is the cognitive power of the mind considered as in potency to
 Cf. op. cit., P. II, Q. LXIX, Memb. 2, Art. 3.
 Op. cit., P. 11, Q. LIX ff.
Historical Position. Alexander's philosophy exhibits, in a less
degree than did the philosophy of William of Auvergne, the strife of
two elements, -- the Augustinian and the Peripatetic. The Irrefragable
Doctor made more extensive use of the writings of Aristotle than his
predecessor had done; still he did not succeed in substituting the
Aristotelian doctrines of metaphysics and psychology for the Augustinian doctrines which had become
traditional in the schools. Alexander's most important contribution to
philosophy is his development of the Scholastic method and his
application of it to the discussion of theological problems. To him is
also due the credit of outlining the plan followed in all the great
Summae, and, although his synthesis of philosophical doctrine is
lacking in unity and completeness, it cannot be denied that his
influence on the summists of the next generation was very great. He was
held in high esteem by Albert and St. Thomas; as Gerson says,
"Testantur scripta ejusdem Sancti Thomae . . . quam intimum sibi
fecerat et familiarem ilium quem laudabat doctorem Alexandrum." 
 Cf. De Wulf, op. cit., p. 256.
 Cf. Summa, P. II, Q. LXIX.
 Bartholomew the Englishman was also one of the Franciscan
teachers of this period. His principal work, De Proprietatibus
Rerum, written about 1260, was translated into English in the
fourteenth century. Selections from this remarkable treatise were
published in 1893 by Steele, under the title Medieval Lore.
Consult Jourdain, Recherches, pp. 358 ff., and Chartul.,
I, 644 and 649, note 5.
John de la Rochelle (1200-1245) was a disciple of Alexander,
under whom he qualified for his license as teacher at Paris. He wrote a
treatise, De Anima, in which he defends the Augustinian doctrine
of the identity of the soul with its faculties (about which Alexander
seems to hesitate), and accentuates the physiological aspect of
psychological problems. In the latter point he shows the influence of
the Arabian physicists. When, in 1245, he retired from the duties of
teacher,  he was succeeded by John of Parma, who, in turn, was
succeeded by St. Bonaventure.
 Cf. Chartul., I, 187. The work De Anima was
published at Prati in 1882 by P. Marcellino da Civezza.
Life. St. Bonaventure (John Fidanza), surnamed Doctor
Seraphicus, was the most illustrious among the disciples of
Alexander of Hales. He was born at Bagnorea near Viterbo, in the year
1221. In 1238  he entered
the order of St. Francis. He was sent to Paris, where, as he himself
tells us,  he had for master Alexander of Hales. In 1248 he received
his licentiate; and although in 1253 he undertook the duties of teacher
of theology in the Franciscan convent, it was not until 1257 that he
made his solemn inceptio, having for fellow-candidate St. Thomas
of Aquin.  The two saints were employed by their respective orders to
defend the mendicants against William of St. Amour, and from the moment
of their first acquaintance at Paris until their death, which occurred
in the same year, 1274, they maintained a friendship in which they
seemed to rise above the spirit of rivalry existing even at that time
between the two great orders. St. Bonaventure was made general of the
Franciscans in 1257, and was raised to the dignity of cardinal by
Gregory X. He died during the Council of Lyons (1274).
 Cf. Sbaralea in Bullarium Franciscanum, III, p. 12,
n., and in Bonaventurae Opera Omnia, Quaracchi edition, Vol. I,
Introd., p. in. The Bollandists (Acta Sanctorum Julii, Vol. III,
781) give the year 1243.
Sources. St. Bonaventure's works were published in Rome
(1586-1596), Mainz (1609), and Lyons (1668). They have been
republished by the Franciscans of Quaracchi (near Florence). The last
volume of this excellent edition appeared in 1902. The most important
of St. Bonaventure's works are his Commentaria in IV Libros
Sententiarum, De Reductione Artium ad Theologiam, Itinerarium Mentis ad
Deum, Breviloquium, and a number of treatises on ascetic theology,
such as the Soliloquium, De Regimine Animes, etc. As secondary
sources we have Della Vera filosofia, etc., del Serafico Dottor S.
Bonaventura by P. Marcellino da Civezza (Genova, 1874), and Die
Lehre des heil. Bonaventura, etc., by Krause (Paderborn, 1888).
 Commentarium in IIum Librum
Sententiarum, Dist, XXIII, Art. 2, Q. III.
 Cf. Wadding, Annales Franciscani, II, 55. The
Bollandists (Acta Sanctor., loc. cit.) doubt this
assertion of Wadding's. They maintain that St. Bonaventure was elected
general in 1256, and that St. Thomas did not receive his doctorate
before 1257. Denifle (Chartul., I, p. 333, note 6) maintains
that St. Bonaventure was elected general in 1257, that (ibid.,
187, note 5) he was appointed to teach in 1248, and that (ibid.,
244, note 5) he may have been magister regens in 1253. It is probable
that St. Bonaventure was installed as teacher in the convent of his
order in 1248, was appointed master in 1253, and made his solemn
inceptio at a later date.
St. Bonaventure's philosophy is, like that of his two predecessors in
the Franciscan chair of theology, a combination of Augustinian with
Peripatetic elements. Instead, however, of drawing from the psychology
of St. Augustine, the Seraphic Doctor draws rather from the mysticism of the Christian Plato, at the
same time retaining in his account of the relation of form to matter
some of the anti-Aristotelian tenets which had even in his day become
part of the traditional teaching of the Franciscans. He is careful,
like his great contemporary St. Thomas, to distinguish between
theology, which has for object supernatural truth, and philosophy,
which has for object truth of the natural order. He is inclined,
however, to attach more importance than St. Thomas does to the
emotional and volitional element in philosophy and to the affective, or
the ascetico-mystic, aspect of theology. Still, it is possible to set
aside for a moment the mystic and emotional elements of his system of
thought, so as to enumerate the points of teaching in which he differs
from St. Thomas and to treat under separate titles his mysticism and
his alleged ontologism.
Metaphysics. All finite being is composed of act and potency.
St. Bonaventure, identifying form with act, and matter with potency,
teaches the doctrine advocated by Alexander of Hales, -- that there is
no form without matter.  This is one of the distinctively Franciscan
doctrines. The plurality of forms is another. Besides the substantial
form, which completes the being of a substance, there are subordinate
forms, which are principles of ulterior perfection.  With regard to
the principle of individuation, -- that by which the individuals of the
same species are differentiated from one another, -- St. Bonaventure
decides that the individual, hoc aliquid, is individualized both
by the matter and by the form:
Si tamen quaeras a quo veniat (individuatio) principaliter;
dicendum quod individuum est hoc aliquid. Quod sit hoc, principalius
habet a materia. Quod sit allquid, habet a forma. Individuatio igitur
in creaturis consurgit ex duplici principio. 
 In IIum Sent., Dist. III, P. I, Art. 1.
The doctrine of rationes seminales is another characteristic
doctrine of the Franciscan school. St. Thomas accounts for the
production of created substances by postulating the potency of the
matter acted upon and the causality, or efficiency, of the agent which
acts. Besides these, St. Bonaventure postulates on the part of the
matter, principles created with the matter and cooperating with the
agent in the production of the effect. Such principles he identifies
with the rationes seminales of which St. Augustine speaks. 
 Cf. In IIum Sent., Dist. XII,
Art. 1, Q. III.
 In IIum Sent., Dist. III, P. I, Art. 2,
 Cf. In IIum Sent., Dist. VII, P.
II, Art. 2, Q. I.
Psychology. In his psychology, St. Bonaventure enumerates
memory, intelligence, and will as faculties of the soul,
and distinguishes them from the essence of the soul: "Quoniam
egrediuntur ab anima, non sunt omnino idem per essentiam."  His
theory of knowledge is best studied in connection with his mystical
 In IIum Sent., Dist. III, P. II, Art. 1,
Mysticism. The mystical elements of St. Bonaventure's system of
thought are developed in his Itinerarium Mentis ad Deum and his
De Reductione Artium ad Theologiam. He quotes with approval the
teachings of St. Bernard and of the Victorines, and in later times he
himself became the favorite author of the orthodox mystics. All
knowledge, he teaches, takes place by means of illumination. Now
there are four kinds of illumination:
(1) lumen exterius, scilicet lumen artis mechanicae; (2) lumen
inferius, scilicet lumen cognitionis sensitivae; (3) lumen interius,
scilicet lumen cognitionis philosophiae, et (4) lumen superius,
scilicet lumen gratiae et Sacrae Scripturae. 
 De Reductione Artium ad Theologiam, No. I.
The lumen interius, the light of philosophical knowledge,
starting from a knowledge of the sensible world, and of first
principles, which are natural gifts, enables us to rise to a knowledge
of God; but it is only by the lumen superius, the light of
Divine Grace and Holy Writ, that we can arrive at a knowledge of <\>salutary
truth, that is, of the truth which is unto salvation. In the
Breviloquium,  St. Bonaventure adopts the teaching of Hugh of
St. Victor, who distinguished the eye of the flesh, by which we
perceive the external world, the eye of reason, by which we
attain a knowledge of ourselves, and the eye of contemplation,
by which we rise to a knowledge of things above us. In the external
world we find a trace (vestigium) of God; in ourselves, and
especially in the threefold activity of the soul (memory, reason, and
will), we find an image (imago) of God. By means of
contemplation of higher things we rise to a knowledge of God in His
nature and threefold personality. Or rather, we are lifted up to this
ecstatic knowledge; for, while it is possible without the aid of Divine
Grace to know God as He is shadowed forth in nature and imaged in our
own souls, it is impossible without the aid of Divine Grace to acquire
any knowledge which is unto salvation, or to rise from the
contemplation of higher things to a knowledge of the divine nature and
the divine personalities. 
Ad contemplationem nemo venit nisi per meditationem perspicuam,
conversationem sanctam et orationem devotam. 
illuminationem nemo novit nisi qui probat, nemo autem probat nisi per
gratiam divinitus datam. 
 II, Cap. 12.
In the highest grade of contemplative knowledge the soul is united with
God in mental and mystic ecstasy (excessus mentalis a mysticus),
which is described in the last chapter of the Itinerarium as a
state in which the soul leaves all sense and intellect, and is lost, as
it were, in God:
 Itinerarium Mentis ad Deum, Capp. 2, 3.
 Ibid., Cap. 1.
 Breviloquium, p. vi, Cap. 6.
Si autem quaeras quomodo haec fiant, interroga gratiam, non doctrinam;
desiderium, non intellectum; gemitum orationis, non studium lectionis;
sponsum, non magistrum; Deum, non hominem; caliginem, non claritatem;
non lucem, sed ignem inflammantem et in Deum . . . transferentem." 
 Itin., Cap. 7.
Is St. Bonaventure an Ontologist? Ontologism maintains (1) that
God, the first in order of being, is the first in order of knowledge
(primum ontologicum est primum logicum); (2) that, consequently,
our knowledge of God is intuitive, not abstractive; (3) that in the
light of the idea of God all our other ideas are acquired. Now, on the
one hand, St. Bonaventure teaches that we rise from a knowledge of
creatures to a knowledge of God: "Deus, qui est artifex et causa
creaturae, per ipsam cognoscitur."  "Cognoscere autem Deum per
creaturas . . . hoc est proprie viatorum."  Thus, it is evident that
St. Bonaventure does not maintain the priority of our knowledge of God
with reference to our knowledge of created things, nor does he maintain
that our knowledge of God is intuitive. Moreover, his theory of
cognition does not agree with the doctrine that we see all things in
God; for, while he maintains that some species intelligibiles
are infused, he maintains at the same time that other species are
acquired by the abstractive power of the active intellect, and that the
mind was at the beginning, a tabula rasa. "Haec autem sensibilia
exteriora sunt quae primo ingrediuntur in animam per portas quinque
sensuum."  On the other hand, many of the teachings of St.
Bonaventure are capable of an Ontologistic interpretation. He teaches,
for example, that our knowledge of God and of the soul is independent
of all sense-knowledge: "Necessario enim oportet ponere quod anima
novit Deum et seipsam et quae sunt in seipsa sine adminiculo sensuum
exteriorum."  He also teaches that the first object of our knowledge
is God: "Esse igitur quod primo cadit in intellectu et illud esse est
quod est actus purus: restat igitur, quod illud esse est esse
divinum."  The context, however, shows that these two passages do not
prove St. Bonaventure to be an Ontologist. He himself explains that the
doctrine contained in the first passage agrees with the
Aristotelian principle, "Nihil est in intellectu quod prius non fuerit
in sensu," and he gives the key to the second passage when he
explains  the difference between the intellectus apprehendens,
which may understand the effect without understanding the cause, and
the intellectus resolvens, which, if it fully "resolves" the effect,
must include in a knowledge of the effect a knowledge of the cause, and
in the knowledge of any creature the knowledge of God. Besides, when,
in a treatise which is professedly mystic, the Seraphic Doctor speaks
of God as the first object of knowledge, he may be understood to mean
that a knowledge of God is the beginning of that knowledge which is
 In Ium Sent., Dist. III, P. I, Q.
Historical Position. St. Bonaventure is the type of the orthodox
mystic. He reproduces the principles of the Victorine school without
any of the exaggerations which characterized the later representatives
of that school. He does not oppose the study of philosophy or the use
of dialectic. To the Amo ut intelligam of the mystics he adds
the Intelligo ut credam and the Credo ut intelligam of
the dialecticians. He became, as has been said, the favorite author of
the mystics of later times. Gerson, for instance, writes:
 Ibid., Q. III.
 Itin., Cap. 2, No. 4.
 In IIum Sent., Dist. XXIX, Art.
x, Q. II.
 Itin., Cap. 5.
 In Ium Sent., Dist. XXVIII.
Si quaeratur a me quis inter caeteros doctores plus videatur idoneus,
respondeo sine praejudicio quod Dominus Bonaventura, quoniam in docendo
solidus est, et securus, pius, justus, et devotus. 
 Opera Omnia, Vol. I, p. 21.
Life. Roger Bacon, Doctor Mirabilis, although belonging
to the Franciscan order, is not a representative of Franciscan
tradition. Still, he reproduces some of the Franciscan doctrines, and
for this reason he may be associated with Alexander of Hales and St.
Bonaventure. He was born near Ilchester in Gloucestershire, in the year
1214. He studied at Oxford, where be had for masters Edmund Rich,
Robert Greathead, and Richard Fitzacre (or Fishacre), from whom he imbibed a love for linguistic,
mathematical, and physical sciences. About the year 1245 he repaired to
Paris, more suae gentis, as Brucker says, there to complete his
studies. He listened, not very respectfully, as his writings show, to
Alexander of Hales and, possibly, to Albert the Great. Returning to
Oxford, he joined the Franciscan order and became one of the most
famous masters at that university. His career, however, was as brief as
it was brilliant. He was exiled by the authority of his superiors --
for what reason we are not told -- and lived from 1257 to 1267 in what
was virtually a prison belonging to his order in Paris. In 1267 he was
liberated by order of Clement IV, and returned to Oxford. In 1278 he
was again imprisoned on the charge of insubordination and on account of
his violent attacks on the religious orders and the higher clergy. He
was liberated in 1292; but so little notice did the master once so
famous now attract that not even the date of his death is recorded. 
 Hauréau, op. cit., III, 82; according to the
Kirchenlexikon (Wetzer u. Welte), Roger died in 1294 and was
buried at Oxford.
Sources. Bacon's principal works are Opus Majus, Opus
Minus (an epitome of the Opus Majus), and Opus
Tertium. Besides these he left a Compendium Philosophiae.
The Opus Majus was published by Jebb in 1733, and by Bridges
(Oxford), 1897. In 1859 Brewer published the remaining works of Bacon
(London, 1859).  An excellent study of the life of Bacon is found in
the work of M. Charles, Roger Bacon (Paris, 1861). Consult also
article by Narbey in Revue des questions historiques (January,
1894) and Potthast, Wegweiser, p. 130.
 The volume contains the Opus Tertium, Opus Minus, and
Compendium Philosophiae. It is No. 5 of the collection Rerum
Brit. Medii AEvi Scriptores. On Roger Bacon's works, cf.
Whewell, Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, XII, chap. vii.
Reform of Scientific Method. Roger Bacon is rightly regarded as
the precursor of his namesake, Francis Bacon; for he was the first to
attempt to reform science by advocating the use of observation and
experiment. He advocated also the study of mathematics and of
languages. But although his efforts were supported by papal authority
as long as Clement IV lived, Bacon never attained even a momentary success. The age was not yet
tired of metaphysical speculation, and, besides, the intemperate zeal
which Roger Bacon expended on the cause of scientific reform was of
itself sufficient to bring about the failure of his efforts. He rightly
insisted on the use of observation in the investigation of nature; he
was, however, not only wrong, but imprudent when, without
distinguishing between science and science, he condemned all use of
deductive reasoning, even going so far as to say that mathematical
proof does not convince unless it is confirmed by experience: "Sine
experientia nihil sufficienter sciri potest."  Moreover, Roger was
somewhat boastful; in his Opus Majus, addressed to Clement IV,
he said that he had invented a system of universal grammar by means of
which any one might learn Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Arabic within a few
days (infra paucissimas dies).  So enthusiastic was he for the
study of language that in the same work he advanced the extraordinary
opinion that all Christians should read the Scriptures in the original
Hebrew and Greek. These exaggerations had their natural effect. Bacon
was regarded as a fanatic; he not only failed to influence the thought
of his age, but even placed in the way of scientific reform obstacles
which were not removed until the end of the Scholastic era.
 Opus Majus (ed. 1733), p. 445.
Philosophy. When Roger Bacon declared that he would burn all the
books of Aristotle if he possessed them, he is to be understood as
speaking of the translations of Aristotle, which he justly condemned as
inaccurate. He held Aristotle, in the greatest reverence, and next to
Aristotle he esteemed Avicenna; indeed, he drew much of his
philosophical and scientific doctrine from Arabian sources. He agreed
with his Franciscan predecessors as to the plurality of forms and the
existence of rationes seminales in matter. In his account of the active intellect,
however, he goes over to the camp of the Arabian transcendentalists,
and not only maintains that the active intellect is separate, but
explicitly identifies it with God, -- a doctrine which, as we have
seen, he falsely attributed to William of Auvergne.
 In the Opus Tertium (ed. Brewer, p. 65) Roger is more
specific: "Infra tres dies, ego quemcumque diligentem et confidentem
docerem Hebraeum." A fragment of Roger's Greek Grammar has just been
published by the Cambridge University Press (1902), edited by Nolan and
Et sic Intellectus Agens secundum majores philosophos non est pars
animae sed est substantia intellectiva alia et separata per essentiam
ab intellectu possibili. 
 Opus Majus, p. 26; cf. Opus Tertium, p. 74.
Still, Roger was convinced that in maintaining this doctrine he was not
departing from the doctrine of the schools; he believed that he was
merely interpreting St. Augustine's teaching concerning the rationes
 Cf. Opus Majus, loc. cit.; also Opus
Tertium (ed. Brewer), p. 74.
The Arabian doctrine that human life and human action depend on the
heavenly bodies, -- a doctrine which formed the theoretical basis of
magic during the Middle Ages, -- is part of the philosophy of Bacon:
Per coelum enim alteratur corpus, et alterato corpore, excitatur anima
nunc ad actus privatos, nunc publicos, salva tamen in omnibus arbitrii
 Opus Majus, p. 117; cf. Opera (ed. Brewer),
Scientific Doctrines. These belong to the history of the
physical sciences rather than to the history of philosophy.  Bacon
seems to have had some knowledge of the reflection and refraction of
light, and in more than one passage of his Opus Majus he implies
that he was acquainted with the use of the telescope: "Possumus sic
figurare perspicua (ut) faceremus solem et lunam et stellas descendere
secundum apparentiam hic inferius."  Figuier  thinks it probable that
our philosopher used a combination of a concave mirror and a lens, and
that by means of this combination he observed the heavenly bodies. In a work entitled De
Secretis Operibus Artis et Naturae, which is ascribed to Bacon by
Figuier and others,  we find interesting anticipations of modern
inventions, such as locomotives (currus etiam possunt fieri ut sine
animali moveantur cum impetu inaestimabili), flying machines
(instrumenta volandi), and suspension bridges (sine columna
vel aliquo sustentaculo). In the Opus Majus (p. 318) the Milky Way
is described as composed of many stars, "habens multas stellas
 Cf. Berthelot, La chimie au Moyen Age (Paris, 1893);
Meyer, History of Chemistry, trans. by McGowan (London, 1898).
Historical Position. Roger Bacon resembled Abelard in his
complete lack of respect for authority and scientific prestige. He
spoke disparagingly of the Irrefragable Doctor (Alexander of Hales),
saying that his Summa was "plus quam pondus unius equi"; he
characterized the great Albert as ignorant and presumptuous, and
expressed contempt for the linguistic attainments of St. Thomas. He
attacked the mendicant orders, the bishops, and the papal court. In
this way he brought discredit on the cause which he was otherwise so
well fitted to defend. He was certainly the greatest scientific light
of the thirteenth century. Had he possessed as much prudence as
scientific insight, he would probably have succeeded in his reforms and
conferred inestimable benefit on Scholastic philosophy. Albert, who was
less of an innovator than Bacon, contributed far more than Bacon did to
the advancement of science in the thirteenth century.
 Opus Majus, p. 357; cf. Opera, ed. Brewer, p.
 Cf. Figuier, Vies des savants du Moyen Age (Paris, 1883),
 Cf. Appendix I to Brewer's ed., especially pp. 534 ff.
 Cf. Figuier, op. cit., pp. 209 ff.
ALBERT THE GREAT
Life. Blessed Albert the Great, Doctor Universalis,
represents the beginning of the Dominican tradition in philosophy. He
was of the noble family of Bollstädt, and was born at Lauingen in
Suabia in 1193. About the year 1212 he went to Padua, where for ten
years he devoted himself to the study of the liberal arts, including
philosophy. In 1223 he entered the order of St. Dominic. After
completing his theological studies at Bologna, he taught first at Cologne and other German cities, and later at
Paris, where he seems to have eclipsed all his contemporaries. He
taught at the convent of St. James, from which, after three years
(1245-1248), he was transferred to Cologne, and it was to Cologne that
he returned once more when, after three years (1260-1262) spent in
Ratisbon as bishop of that see, he resigned the mitre to devote himself
exclusively to study. He died in 1280, leaving a reputation for
extraordinary learning and almost superhuman knowledge of the secrets
of natural science. "Vir in omni scientia adeo divinus," says a
contemporary, "ut nostri temporis stupor et miraculum congrue vocari
Sources. Albert's works, comprising twenty-one folio volumes in
the Lyons edition of 1651 (reprinted, Paris, 1890 ff.), contain: (1)
commentaries on Aristotle's logical, physical, metaphysical, and
ethical treatises; in these the text and the exposition of the text are
not separated, as they are in St. Thomas' commentaries; (2)
philosophical works -- De Causis et Processu Universitatis and
De Unitate Intellectus contra Averroem; (3) theological works
-- commentaries on Scripture, commentaries on the Sentences, Summa
de Creaturis, Summa Theologica, and ascetic treatises, such as the
Paradisus Animes. Monograph: Sighart's Albert der Grosse,
trans. in abridged form by Dixon (London, 1876).
The philosophy of Albert the Great is mainly identical in spirit and
content with that of his illustrious disciple, St. Thomas. There are,
however, some points of difference; as, for example, in the doctrine of
the existence of rationes seminales and the permanence of the
forms of elements in a mixture, both of which are maintained by Albert
but rejected by St. Thomas. It may be said, without detracting from the
credit due to Albert as one of the greatest exponents of Scholasticism
in its final form, that it was his pupil who first imparted to
Scholasticism its most compact systematic development.
Logic is divided into two parts, the study of incomplexa,
or uncombined elements of thought, and the study of complexa,
that is, of judgment and inference.  In the second tract of the book,
De Praedicabilibus, Albert takes up the study of the problem of
universals and answers each of Porphyry's questions according to the
principles of moderate realism, which, since the beginning of the
thirteenth century, had become the common doctrine of the schools.
 De Praedicabilibus, Tract. 1, Cap. 5.
Metaphysics, or philosophia prima, treats of Being and
its most universal properties. Under this head is included also the
problem of the existence of God. The proof on which Albert places
greatest reliance is not the ontological, but the cosmological
 Cf. Sum. Theol., P. I, Tract. 3, Q. XVIII, Memb. 1.
Cosmology. Albert teaches that God created the world ex
nihilo, according to exemplars (species et rationes omnium
creatorum) existing eternally in the Divine Mind.  The world is
not the best possible world. 
 Op. cit., P. I, Tract. 13, Q. LV.
Psychology. The soul is an immaterial principle, the form of the
body: "Ex anima et corpore fit unum naturaliter et
substantialiter."  The intellect is a faculty of the soul,
independent indeed of the body (non affixa organo), yet
receiving from the organism the material of thought. It is not the
intellect that is fatigued, but the organism (motus phantasmatum et
discursus spiritus) which ministers to it.  Albert composed a
treatise in refutation of the Arabian doctrine that the intellect is
one for all men.
 Ibid., Tract. 19, Q. LXX VII, Memb. 3.
 Sum. Theol., P. II, Tract. 12, Q. LX VIII.
Scientific Doctrines. It was as a student of nature that Albert
showed the universality of his genius. He was an authority, in his day,
on physics, geography, astronomy, mineralogy, botany, alchemy, zoblogy,
physiology, and phrenology. His contributions to natural science are
quite as important as his contributions to philosophy. Indeed, his
chief merit as a philosopher lies in the fact that he did more than any
of his predecessors to establish in philosophy the spirit of scientific
investigation. It is true that he borrowed many of his scientific doctrines from
Aristotle; nevertheless, he did not hesitate to criticise Aristotle and
to reprove those who regarded Aristotle as infallible: "Si autem credit
ipsum (Aristotelem) esse hominem, tunc procul dubio errare potuit sicut
et nos."  He borrowed also from the Arabian and Jewish commentators of
Aristotle, but he hints that personal observation led him to hold
various physical doctrines which he did not feel justified in
mentioning in his commentaries:
 Summa de Creaturis, P. II, Tract. r, Q. LIX.
Physica enim tantum suscepimus dicenda plus secundum peripateticorum
sententiam prosequentes ea quae intendimus quam ex nostra scientia. 
 In Libros de Physico Auditu, Tract. 1, Cap. 14;
Opera, Vol. II, p. 332.
"Dicta peripateticorum, prout melius potui, exposui," he says at the
end of his book, De Animalibus, "nec aliquis in eo potest
deprehendere quid ego ipse sent iam in philosophia naturali."
 De Somno et Vigilia, Tract. i, Cap. 12.
Albert's original contributions to natural science cannot be mentioned
here except in a general way. He was the first to use the term affinity
to designate the cause of the combination of elements. He rejected the
current theory that baser metals may be changed into gold by means of
the philosopher's stone.  Still, he maintained the possibility of
transmuting one metal into another; for all metals are naturally
produced by the earth from a combination of sulphur and mercury
(argentum vivum); they differ, therefore, by an accidental, not
by a substantial form.  Albert's observations and experiments in
botany, zoology, and physical geography are mentioned in terms of the
highest praise by Humboldt. 
 De Mineralibus, Lib. II, Tract. 1.
Historical Position. Albert is, without doubt, the greatest of
the Christian expounders of Aristotle who appeared before the time of
St. Thomas. We have seen that he is not a slavish follower of
Aristotle; he takes cognizance of the work done by
the Jews and Arabians, he acknowledges the debt that Christian
philosophy owes to Plato and the Platonists, and in the region of
physical science he advances by the exercise of personal observation
beyond the doctrine of Platonists and Peripatetics. Great, however, as
was Albert's erudition, -- for he seems to have been exceptionally
well read in the literature of physical science, -- his knowledge of
the succession of systems of thought was singularly inaccurate: he
speaks, for example, of Plato as deriving certain doctrines from the
 Libellus de Alchimia, p. 2.
 Cosmos, Vol. II, Cap. 6. cf. also Revue
Thomiste, March and May, 1893.
 Cf. De Decem Praedicamentis, Tract. II, Cap. 4.
Albert's chief merit lies in the success with which he expounded
Aristotle's physical doctrines, and in the impulse which his own
researches in physical science gave to the investigation of nature. He
was lacking in the power of synthesizing the scattered elements of
knowledge into a compact system of thought. In this respect he was
excelled by his illustrious pupil, St. Thomas, whose future glory he
foretold, and whose renown as a teacher outshone his own, throwing
greater luster on the Church and on the order of St. Dominic, to which
both Albert and St. Thomas belonged.