English Statesman, Scholastic Philosopher, Theologian, Scientist and Bishop of Lincoln
Robert Grosseteste or Grossetete
English Statesman, Scholastic Philosopher, Theologian, Scientist and Bishop of Lincoln
If you know how many acres you have sown of each kind of corn, inquire how much the acre the soil of that land takes for sowing, and count the number of quarters of seed, and you shall know the return of seed, and what ought to be over.
The highest part of the human soul, which is called the intelligence and which is not the act of any body and does not need for its proper operation a corporeal instrument?this intelligence, if it were not obscured and weighed down by the mass of the body, would itself have complete knowledge from the irradiation received from the superior light without the help of sense, just as it will have when the soul is drawn forth from the body, and as perhaps those people have who are free from the love and the imaginings of corporeal things.
In a vacuum which is imagined as infinite there cannot be local differences, both on account of its infinity, and also because of the fact that the vacuum, if it exists, would have no nature but a privation, and therefore it can have no natural differences.
The space of the real physical world must be considered full that is a plenum, because a vacuum could have no physical existence.
It is not possible for form to do without matter because it is not separable, nor can matter itself be purged of form.
The wool of a thousand sheep in good pasture at the least ought to yield fifty marks a year, the wool of two thousand one hundred marks, and so forth, counting by thousands.
Also see how many quarters of corn you will spend in a week in dispensable bread, how much in alms.
Just as the light of the sun irradiates the organ of vision and things visible, enabling the former to see and the latter to be seen, so too the irradiation of a spiritual light brings the mind into relation with that which is intelligible.
This part of optics [perspectiva], when well understood, shows us how we may make things a very long way off appear to be placed very close, and large near things appear very small, and how we may make small things placed at a distance appear as large as we want, so that it is possible for us to read the smallest letters at an incredible distance, or to count sand, or grain, or seeds, or any sort of minute objects.
And as far as possible for sickness or fatigue, constrain yourself to eat in the hall before your people, for this shall bring great benefit and honor to you.
Know that each acre of fallow ought to support yearly two sheep at the least, then a hundred acres of fallow can support two hundred sheep, two hundred acres, four hundred sheep and so on.
Vacuum stands and remains a mathematical space. A cube placed in a vacuum would not displace anything, as it would displace air or water in a space already containing those fluids.
And be careful of this, that each day at your meals you have two overseers over your household when you sit at meals, and of this be sure, that you shall be very much feared and reverenced.
Make your free men and guests sit as far as possible at tables on either side, not four here and three there.
And if strangers come to supper they shall be served with more according as they have need.
Now, all causes of natural effects must be expressed by means of lines, angles and figures, for otherwise it is impossible to grasp their explanation. This is evident as follows. A natural agent multiplies its power from itself to the recipient, whether it acts on sense or on matter. This power is sometimes called species, sometimes a likeness, and it is the same thing whatever it may be called; and the agent sends the same power into sense and into matter, or into its own contrary, as heat sends the same thing into the sense of touch and into a cold body. For it does not act, by deliberation and choice, and therefore it acts in a single manner whatever it encounters, whether sense or something insensitive, whether something animate or inanimate. But the effects are diversified by the diversity of the recipient, for when this power is received by the senses, it produces an effect that is somehow spiritual and noble; on the other hand, when it is received by matter, it produces a material effect. Thus the sun produces different effects in different recipients by the same power, for it cakes mud and melts ice.
And in doing this I advise you to send to the best manors of your lands those of your household in whom you place most confidence to be present in August at the leading of the corn, and to guard it as aforesaid.
One cause, in so far as it is one, is productive of only one effect. I do not rule out several efficient causes of which one is nearer and another more remote in the same order. Thus when I say simply 'animal', I do not exclude another substance or particular substance. Hence motion, in so far as it is one, is productive of only one effect. But motion is present in every body from an intrinsic principle which is called natural. Therefore an efficient cause simply proportional to the motion is present in all bodies. But nothing is present in common in every body except primitive matter and primitive form and magnitude, which necessarily follows from these two, and whatever is entailed by magnitude as such, as position and shape. But simply through magnitude a body does not receive motion, as is clear enough when Aristotle shows that everything that moves is divisible, not, therefore, simply because of magnitude or something entailed by magnitude is a body productive of motion. Nor is primitive matter productive of motion, because it is itself passive. It is therefore necessary that motion follow simply from the primitive form as from an efficient cause.
And strictly forbid that any quarrelling be at your meals.
Ostensive demonstration is that which concludes directly to that which is in question. Reduction ad impossibile is that which, when something the opposite of that which is in question has been assumed, concludes with some other proposition directly to a known and manifest impossibility, from the opposite of which the investigator is led back to the original proposition in question. But there is a difference between ostensive demonstration and reduction ad impossibile, because the former proves from things prior in the order of nature but the latter from things posterior in the order of nature. When things prior in nature are better known in the intellect of the person making the demonstration the process is carried out ostensively; but when posterior things are better known to his intellect then the demonstration is carried out per impossibile... in demonstration carried out per impossibile the showing of the original thing in question is carried out by means of things posterior to it in the order of nature... And there is in the contrary, falsely supposed in predicate of subject, a connecting term by which something is implied to be which impossible in the nature of things.
And with the money from your corn, from your rents, and from the issues of pleas in your courts, and from your stock, arrange the expenses of your kitchen and your wines and your wardrobe and the wages of servants, and subtract your stock.
Power from natural agents may go by a short line, and then in its activity greater... But if by a straight line then its action is stronger and better, as Aristotle says in Book V of the Physics, because nature operates in the shortest way possible. But the straight line is the shortest of all, as he says in the same place.
And you yourself always be seated at the middle fo the high table that your presence as lord or lady may appear openly to all, and that you may plainly see on either side all the service and all the faults.
Say to all small and great, and that often, that fully, quickly and willingly, without grumbling and contradiction, they do all your commands that are not against God.
Because the purity of the eye of the soul is obscured and weighed down by the corrupt body, all the powers of this rational soul born in man are laid hold of by the mass of the body and cannot act and so in a way are asleep. Accordingly, when in the process of time the senses act through many interactions of sense with sensible things, the reasoning is awakened mixed with these very sensible things and is borne along in the senses to the sensible things as in a ship. But the functioning reason begins to divide and separately consider what in sense were confused...But the reasoning does not know this to be actually universal except after it has made this abstraction from many singulars, and has reached one and the same universal by its judgment taken from many singulars.