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Nicholas or Nicolaus of Autrecourt (in French Nicholas d'Autrécourt; in Latin Nicolaus de Autricuria or Nicolaus de Ultricuria) (ca. 1299 - ca. 1369), was a French medieval philosopher and theologian. Born in Autrecourt near Verdun, France, Autreourt was known principally for developing skepticism to extreme logical conclusions. He is sometimes considered the sole genuinely skeptic philosopher of medieval times. Like David Hume centuries later, he founded his skeptical position on arguments that knowledge claims were not "reducible to the first principle", that is, that it was not contradictory to deny them.[1] Whether he was committed to these conclusions is unclear, but on May 19, 1346 they were condemned by Pope Clement VI as heretical and his books publicly burned.

In the fourteenth century, Nicholas of Autrecourt considered that matter, space, and time were all made up of indivisible atoms, points, and instants and that all generation and corruption took place by the rearrangement of material atoms. The similarities of his ideas with those of al-Ghazali suggest that Nicholas was familiar with the work of al-Ghazali, who was known as "Algazel" in Europe, either directly or indirectly through Averroes.


  1. ^ J. Franklin, The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 210-216.

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