Certainty, Doubt, Error: Comments On the Epistemological Foundations of Medieval Arabic Science1

In: Early Science and Medicine

Abstract

The article comments on the epistemological foundations of medieval Arabic science and philosophy, as presented in five earlier communications, and attempts to draw some guidelines for the study of its social history. At the very beginning the notion of "Islam" is discounted as a meaningful explanatory category for historical investigation. A first part then looks at the applied sciences and notes three major characteristics of their epistemological approach: (a) they were functionalist and based on (b) experience and (c) observation. The second part looks at the theoretical sciences and notes that their epistemology was based on (a) geo

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