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Avicenna, one of the greatest Turkish-islamic philosophers of Middle-Ages, was a famous medical scientist. He was also a philosopher who looked for the life’s elixir through all his life full of struggle and left several valuable masterpieces including studies on the science of his time.
He was influenced mostly by Alpharabius among the eastern thinkers and by Aristotle among the western thinkers.
Furthermore he paid attention to ancient philosophers, Greek thinkers and Anatolian naturist philosophers and examined their works carefully. But his real passion was Aristotle. When he was in his late teens, he had nothing more to learn but Metaphysics.
In defiance of reading Aristotle’s’ metaphysics forty times, he couldn’t comprehend the philosopher’s goal.
By chance, he found in Alpharabius’ book the aims of Aristotle’s metaphysics and understood his aim.
After anpharabius, the person who had great influence on Avicenna was Ebu Bekir Razi.
Thus he created his own philosophy by composing Alpharabius’ Rationalism and Razi’s Empirism accidentally.
The approach of Avicenna to different fields
The philosophy and ideas of Avicenna are an example of middle ages philosophy in point of presence philosophy.
There seems that his philosophy is based on experience and wisdom, obtaining by sense, assessing mental information with mental principles.
Avicenna divided philosophy into two parts:
1. THEORETICAL: based on information
based on action.
Avicenna, giving an important place to relational issues in philosophy, assesses religion as an independent theory of knowledge. Having spent great efforts to reconcile and to remove the contradictions between religion and philosophy, Avicenna divides religion into 4 parts:
1. Creation 2. prophecy 3. cognition of god 4. the next world.
According to him, the basis of sophism is Love. Sophism is the manifestation of love and revealment in accordance with certain arrangements.
Avicenna, who hadn’t brought any new ideas to the subject of metaphysics, used a connecting method. In his metaphysics mentality, the main themes are god and presence. If there is sense there is also a subject that creates it.
According to Avicenna, logic is a tool of science. It derives from psychology and it takes its rules from it. Its basic theme is finding the decisions of the mind and teaching humanity the truth between them.
Avicenna tries to combine Plato’s idealism and Aristotle’s empirism about the theme of idea.
For him, intuition is very important and is the main source of knowledge.
The data perceived by intuition are turned into information. His ideas for cognition is idealistic. However he doesn’t disclaim experience as the birth of cognition.
There were lots of effects of Avicenna’s philosophy on Middle Ages Europe. The initial influence of the philosopher on Europe lasted about a century.
A lot of subjects which were considered by the renaissance philosophers were developed and examined by them with his powerful thinking methods.
Empirism and idealism brought up the connection between metaphysics and logic.
In Europe the top of his philosophy developed into Latin scholastic.
The philosopher’s main masterpieces:
Sirat al-shaykh al-ra’is (The Life of Ibn Sina). And trans. WE. Gohlman, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, The only critical edition of Ibn-i Sina’s autobiography, supplemented with material from a biography by his student Abu ‘Ubayd al-Juzjani. A more recent translation of the Autobiography appears in D. Gutas, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition: Introduction to Reading Avicenna’s Philosophical Works, Leiden: Brill, Al-Isharat wa-‘l-tanbihat (Remarks and Admonitions), S. Dunya, Cairo, parts translated by S.C. Inati, Remarks and Admonitions, Part One: Logic, Toronto, Ont.: Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies, and Ibn Sina and Mysticism, Remarks and Admonitions: Part 4, London: Kegan Paul International, Al-Qanun fi’l-tibb (The Cannon of Mecidine), I. a-Qashsh, Cairo, (Encyclopedia of medicine).
Risalah fi sirr al-qadar (Essay on the Secret of Destiny), trans. G. Hourani in Reason and Tradition in Islamic Ethics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Danishnama-i ‘ala’i (The Book of Scientific Knowledge), ed. and trans. P Morewedge, The Metaphysics of Avicenna, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, Kitab al-Shifa’ (The book of healing).
Ibn Sina’s major work on philosophy. He probably began to compose al-Shifa’ , and completed it. Critical editions of the Arabic text have been published in Cairo, originally under the supervision of I. Madkour Hayy ibn Yagdhan a Persian myth.
A novel called Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, based on Avicenna's story, was later written by Ibn Tufail (Abubacer) in the 12th century and translated into Latin and English as Philosophus Autodidactus in the 17th and 18th centuries respectively.
In the 13th century, Ibn al-Nafis wrote his own novel Fadil ibn Natiq, known as Theologus Autodidactus in the West, as a critical response to Hayy ibn Yaqdha.
The masterpiece of Avicenna named Kanun was translated into Latin in XII Century.
And it made a big impression in the medical world in the west.
The book was thought as a fundamental book in Louvain University, Galen in Rome, and in Montpellier University, which was the most famous medical facultes of the era.
Avicenna became a medical teacher.
In Europe for 700 years. 600 years ago, the book of Avicenna, Kanun, held the first place among the nine fundamental books, in Paris medical faculty’s library.
Even nowadays, when the students of Paris medical faculty gather in the conference hall near St. German avenue, they come across the posters of the two Islamic doctors, Avicenna and Er-Razi.
Avicenna was not only an important source middle Ages people could easily consult; he was also one of the masters of ideas.
After St. Jean Damascene, he is one of the authorities the western people believe and trust in.
The science which isn’t turned into action, is somewhere between true and false.
Our philosopher, who contributed to the science like this, deserves more as other philosophers, rather than to give his name to the hospitals. The responsibility of humanity in the early days of 21 century, is to introduce our philosophers to the future and provide the humanity the benefit of their immense of knowledge treasure.