Contemporary scholars set the Greek conception of an immanent natural order in opposition to the seventeenth century mechanistic conception of extrinsic laws imposed upon nature from without. By contrast, we argue that in the process of making the concept of law of nature, forms and laws were coherently used in theories of natural causation. We submit that such a combination can be found in the thirteenth century. The heroes of our claim are Robert Grosseteste who turned the idea of corporeal form into the common feature of matter, and Roger Bacon who described the effects of that common feature. Bacon detached the explanatory principle from matter and rendered it independent and therefore external to natural substances. Our plausibility argument, anchored in close reading of the relevant texts, facilitates a coherent conception of both ‘natures’ and ‘laws’.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A|
|State||Published - 1 Feb 2017|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to two anonymous referees and the editors for helpful comments and suggestions. This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 1622/13): “Roger Bacon (1214–1294) and the Making of the Concept of Law of Nature”.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- History and Philosophy of Science