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Scientific Methodologies in Medieval Islam

From: Journal of the History of Philosophy
Volume 41, Number 3, July 2003
pp. 307-327 | 10.1353/hph.2003.0033


The present study considers Ibn Sînâ's (Lat. Avicenna) account of induction (istiqra') and experimentation (tajriba). For Ibn Sînâ induction purportedly provided the absolute, necessary and certain first principles of a science. Ibn Sînâ criticized induction, arguing that it can neither guarantee the necessity nor provide the primitiveness required of first principles. In it place, Ibn Sînâ developed a theory of experimentation, which avoids the pitfalls of induction by not providing absolute, but conditional, necessary and certain first principles. The theory of experimentation that emerges though not modern, does have elements that are similar to a modern conception of scientific method.