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The Penultimate CuriosityHow Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions$
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Roger Wagner and Andrew Briggs

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747956.001.0001

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Experimental Science

Experimental Science

(p.167) Chapter Twenty Experimental Science
The Penultimate Curiosity

Roger Wagner

Andrew Briggs

Oxford University Press

This chapter focusses on Roger Bacon’s discourse on experimental science. On 22 June 1266, Bacon received a letter stamped with the papal seal of Clement IV instructing him to send the Pope ‘writings and remedies for current conditions ... not withstanding any prohibitions from his order’. This instruction faced him with the task of summarizing some thirty years of work and thought. Bacon’s response included Opus Majus, ‘the greater work’, and possibly Opus Minus, ‘the lesser work’. In his discourse, Bacon argued that a ‘philosophical chancellor’ could organize science and the pursuit of technology for the benefit of the Christian world. He dispatched the great work to the Pope in 1267, presumably with the hope that Clement might take on this role.

Keywords:   Roger Bacon, Clement IV, Guy de Foulques, Opus Majus, Opus Minus, Opus Tertium, experimental science

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