(Doctor Mirabilis) ‘The Marvelous Doctor’
Franciscan friar (Oxford – 1257)
‘Mathematics (The first of the sciences, the alphabet of philosophy, door & key to the sciences), not Logic, should be the basis of all study’
Converted from Aristotelian to a neo-Platonist.
The Multiplication of Species; the means of causation (change) radiate from one object to another like the propagation of light.
‘An agent directs its effect to making the recipient similar to itself because the recipient is always potentially what the agent is in actuality.’
Thus heat radiating from a fire causes water placed near the fire,
but not in it, to become like the fire (hot). The quality of fire is multiplied in the water (multiplication of species).
All change may be analysed mathematically. Every multiplication is according to line, angles or figures. This thinking comes from the ninth century al-Kinde and his thoughts on rays and leads to a mathematical investigation into light.
Fear of the Mongols, Muslims and the Anti-Christ motivated the Franciscans. Franciscan neo-Platonism was based on Augustinian thought with a mathematical, Pythagorean, approach to nature. Bacon subscribed to this apocalyptic view, suffered trial and was imprisoned.
The Dominicans chose Aristotle – with a qualitative, non-mathematical approach to the world.