Avicenna

His full name is Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā, the last two words of which were Latinized into the more common form in Western history. He lived in the Persian Empire from c. 980 AD to 1037. The Dark Ages were not so dark. Aside from his stature as a philosopher, he was also the world’s preeminent physician during his life.

His two most well known works today are The Book of Healing (which has nothing to do with physical medicine) and The Canon of Medicine, which was his compilation of all known medical knowledge at that time.

At the age of sixteen he dedicated all his efforts to learn medicine and by the time he was eighteen gained the status of a reputed physician. During this time he was also lucky in curing Nooh Ibn Mansoor, the King of Bukhhara, of an illness in which all the renowned physicians had given up hope. On this great effort, the King wished to reward him, but the young physician only acquired consent to use his exclusively stocked library of the Samanids.

The only source of information for the first part of Avicenna's life is his autobiography, as written down by his student Jūzjānī. In the absence of any other sources it is impossible to be certain how much of the autobiography is accurate. It has been noted that he uses his autobiography to advance his theory of knowledge (that it was possible for an individual to acquire knowledge and understand the Aristotelian philosophical sciences without a teacher), and it has been questioned whether the order of events described was adjusted to fit more closely with the Aristotelian model; in other words, whether Avicenna described himself as studying things in the 'correct' order. However given the absence of any other evidence, Avicenna's account essentially has to be taken at face value.

On his father’s death, when Ibn Sina was twenty-two years old, he left Bukhara and moved to Jurjan near Caspian Sea where he lectured on logic and astronomy. Here he also met his famous contemporary Abu Raihan al-Biruni. Later he travelled to Rai and then to Hamadan, where he wrote his famous book Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb. Here he also cured Shams al-Daulah, the King of Hamadan, for severe colic.

John Stuart Mill’s five methods for inductive logic stem mostly from Avicenna, who first expounded on three of them: agreement, difference and concomitant variation. It would take too long to explain them in this list, but they are all forms of syllogisms, and every philosopher and student of philosophy is familiar with them from the beginning of education in the subject. They are critical to the scientific method, and whenever someone forms a statement as a syllogism, s/he is using at least one of the methods.

He died in June 1037, in his fifty-eighth year, in the month of Ramadan and was buried in Hamadan, Iran