The century's last great arts master was Radulphus Brito, who started his teaching career in the 1290s and continued it some years into the next decade. Some accounts of late thirteenth-century philosophy leave one with the impression that the artists' main occupation was speculating about the possibility of being united with some supra-human intellect. Central to the sort of philosophy ('modism') Brito inherited from his predecessors was the Avicennian notion of common natures, each with several expressions called 'modes of being'. Brito's theory of concepts – first and second intentions, in concreto and in abstracto – is a little complex, and it is easy to attack, but its purpose is clear: it anchors the way one understand the outside world in that world itself. Modes of understanding reflect modes of being and are reflected by modes of signifying. The generation preceding Brito had made some extravagant claims about what philosophy can do for its servants.