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Ideas of Robert Grosseteste, by Text

[English, 1167 - 1253, Born at Stradbroke.]

1226 Commentary on 'Posterior Analytics'
I.14 p.130 By comparing qualities and features, reason can gradually infer the nature of substance
     Full Idea: Awakened reason distinguishes color from size and shape from body and then shape and size from the substance of body, and so by drawing distinctions and abstracting, it arrives at a grasp of the substance of body, which supports size, shape and color.
     From: Robert Grosseteste (Commentary on 'Posterior Analytics' [1226], I.14), quoted by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 07.4
     A reaction: This optimistic view influenced Aquinas, and is called 'incrementalism' by Pasnau. It is the spirit of scientific essentialism, and a nice instance of inference to the best explanation (though 'substance' in itself explains virtually nothing).