Avicenna the Persian Philosopher
Avicenna (Ibn Sina) was a Persian physician and philosopher who profoundly influenced medieval Islamic philosophy,
while his synthesis of ancient Greek and theology also had a major influence on Western thought, especially that of the medieval Christian philosophers. Avicenna worked during the so-called Islamic Golden Age that was marked by the advanced knowledge which surpassed that in the West.
The main source of Avicenna’s life is his autobiography that was written by his follower Abd al- Wahid Juzjani. He tells us that the Persian philosopher was born about 980 in the village of Afshana near the present-day Bukhara in Uzbekistan.
His mother Setareh was from the very same village, while his father Abdullah who was a high official under the Samanid dynasty was from the ancient city of Balkh in present-day Afghanistan.
Avicenna’s real name was Abu Ali al-Husayn Ibn Abd Allan Ibn Sina but he is commonly referred to under his Latinised name. In the Muslim world, he is known as Ibn Sina.
Avicenna is thought to create over 400 works on a variety of topics but only about 250 have survived. Of the surviving works, over 100 address philosophical questions, while about 40 deal with medicine. Some of his best-known works include:
- Book of Salvation
- The Canon of Medicine
- Book of Healing
- Divine Wisdom
- Book of Sum and Substance
- Philosophy for the Prosodist
- Book of Virtue and Sin
Although Avicenna’s native language was Persian, most of his works were written in Arabic which was the language of the science in the Middle East in his time.
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