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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index A > Avicenna Quotes

(980 - Jun 1037)

Persian physician.

Science Quotes by Avicenna (16 quotes)

At night I would return home, set out a lamp before me, and devote myself to reading and writing. Whenever sleep overcame me or I became conscious of weakening, I would turn aside to drink a cup of wine, so that my strength would return to me. Then I would return to reading. And whenever sleep seized me I would see those very problems in my dream; and many questions became clear to me in my sleep. I continued in this until all of the sciences were deeply rooted within me and I understood them as is humanly possible. Everything which I knew at the time is just as I know it now; I have not added anything to it to this day. Thus I mastered the logical, natural, and mathematical sciences, and I had now reached the science.
— Avicenna
W. E. Gohhnan, The Life of Ibn Sina: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation (1974), 29-31.
Science quotes on:  |  Education (347)  |  Study (476)

But the fact is that when wine is taken in moderation, it gives rise to a large amount of breath, whose character is balanced, and whose luminosity is strong and brilliant. Hence wine disposes greatly to gladness, and the person is subject to quite trivial exciting agents. The breath now takes up the impression of agents belonging to the present time more easily than it does those which relate to the future; it responds to agents conducive to delight rather than those conducive to a sense of beauty.
— Avicenna
'The External Causes of Delight and Sadness', in The Canon of Medicine, adapted by L. Bakhtiar (19-99), 149-50.
Science quotes on:  |  Wine (28)

Disease is an abnormal state of the body which primarily and independently produces a disturbance in the normal functions of the body. It may be an abnormality of temperament or form (structure). Symptom is a manifestation of some abnormal state in the body. It may be harmful as a colic pain or harmless as the flushing of cheeks in peripneumonia.
— Avicenna
'A Discussion of the Cause of Disease and Symptoms', in The Canon of Medicine, adapted by L. Bakhtiar (1999), 171.
Science quotes on:  |  Disease (275)  |  Health (156)

I devoted myself to studying the texts—the original and commentaries—in the natural sciences and metaphysics, and the gates of knowledge began opening for me. Next I sought to know medicine, and so read the books written on it. Medicine is not one of the difficult sciences, and therefore, I excelled in it in a very short time, to the point that distinguished physicians began to read the science of medicine under me. I cared for the sick and there opened to me some of the doors of medical treatment that are indescribable and can be learned only from practice. In addition I devoted myself to jurisprudence and used to engage in legal disputations, at that time being sixteen years old.
— Avicenna
W. E. Gohhnan, The Life of Ibn Sina: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation (1974), 25-7.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (1306)  |  Medicine (344)

It is in the nature of water ... to become transformed into earth through a predominating earthy virtue; ... it is in the nature of earth to become transformed into water through a predominating aqueous virtue.
— Avicenna
Congelatione et Conglutinatione Lapidium (1021-23), trans. E. J. Hohnyard and D. C. Mandeville (1927), 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Earth (638)  |  Water (293)

Leeches should be kept a day before applying them. They should be squeezed to make them eject the contents of their stomachs.
— Avicenna
The Canon, Bk IV.
Science quotes on:  |  Leech (6)

Medicine deals with the states of health and disease in the human body. It is a truism of philosophy that a complete knowledge of a thing can only be obtained by elucidating its causes and antecedents, provided, of course, such causes exist. In medicine it is, therefore, necessary that causes of both health and disease should be determined.
— Avicenna
'Concerning the Subject-Matter of Medicine', in The Canon of Medicine, adapted by L. Bakhtiar (1999), 11.
Science quotes on:  |  Diagnosis (62)  |  Medicine (344)

Medicine is the science by which we learn the various states of the human body in health and when not in health, and the means by which health is likely to be lost and, when lost, is likely to be restored back to health. In other words, it is the art whereby health is conserved and the art whereby it is restored after being lost. While some divide medicine into a theoretical and a practical [applied] science, others may assume that it is only theoretical because they see it as a pure science. But, in truth, every science has both a theoretical and a practical side.
— Avicenna
'The Definition of Medicine', in The Canon of Medicine, adapted by L. Bakhtiar (1999), 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Health (156)  |  Medicine (344)  |  Pure Science (24)

Mountains have been formed by one [or other] of the causes of the formation of stone, most probably from agglutinative clay which slowly dried and petrified during ages of which we have no record. It seems likely that this habitable world was in former days uninhabitable and, indeed, submerged beneath the ocean. Then, becoming exposed little by little, it petrified in the course of ages.
— Avicenna
Congelatione et Conglutinatione Lapidium (1021-23), trans. E. J. Hohnyard and D. C. Mandeville (1927), 28.
Science quotes on:  |  Mountain (145)  |  Petrification (5)

Pain is a sensation produced by something contrary to the course of nature and this sensation is set up by one of two circumstances: either a very sudden change of the temperament (or the bad effect of a contrary temperament) or a solution of continuity.
— Avicenna
'A General Discussion of the Causes of Pain', in The Canon of Medicine, adapted by L. Bakhtiar (1999), 246.
Science quotes on:  |  Health (156)  |  Pain (101)

Pure earth does not petrify, because the predominance of dryness over [i.e. in] the earth endows it not with coherence but rather with crumbliness. In general, stone is formed in two ways only (a) through the hardening of clay, and (b) by the congelation [of waters].
— Avicenna
Congelatione et Conglutinatione Lapidium (1021-23), trans. E. J. Holmyard and D. C. Mandeville (1927), 18.
Science quotes on:  |  Petrification (5)  |  Rock (125)

Signs and symptoms indicate the present, past and future states of the three states of the body (health, illness, neutrality). According to Galen, knowledge of the present state is of advantage only to the patient as it helps him to follow the proper course of management. Knowledge of the past state is useful only to the physician inasmuch as its disclosure by him to the patient brings him a greater respect for his professional advice. Knowledge of the future state is useful to both. It gives an opportunity to the patient to be forewarned to adopt necessary preventative measures and it enhances the reputation of the physician by correctly forecasting the future developments.
— Avicenna
'The Signs and Symptoms (Diagnosis): General Remarks,' in The Canon of Medicine, adapted by L. Bakhtiar (1999), 259.
Science quotes on:  |  Diagnosis (62)

The different sorts of madness are innumerable.
— Avicenna
The Canon, Bk IV.
Science quotes on:  |  Insanity (7)

The physical signs of measles are nearly the same as those of smallpox, but nausea and inflammation is more severe, though the pains in the back are less.
— Avicenna
The Canon, Bk IV.
Science quotes on:  |  Inflammation (5)  |  Measles (3)  |  Pain (101)  |  Smallpox (12)

The theory of medicine, therefore, presents what is useful in thought, but does not indicate how it is to be applied in practice—the mode of operation of these principles. The theory, when mastered, gives us a certain kind of knowledge. Thus we say, for example, there are three forms of fevers and nine constitutions. The practice of medicine is not the work which the physician carries out, but is that branch of medical knowledge which, when acquired, enables one to form an opinion upon which to base the proper plan of treatment.
— Avicenna
'The Definition of Medicine', in The Canon of Medicine, adapted by L. Bakhtiar (1999), 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Diagnosis (62)  |  Medicine (344)

When you do not know the nature of the malady, leave it to nature; do not strive to hasten matters. For either nature will bring about the cure or it will itself reveal clearly what the malady really is.
— Avicenna
'General Therapeutics', in The Canon of Medicine, adapted byL. Bakhtiar (1999), 468.
Science quotes on:  |  Therapy (12)

Quotes by others about Avicenna (3)

He [William Harvey] bid me to goe to the Fountain-head, and read Aristotle, Cicero, Avicenna, and did call the Neoteriques shitt-breeches.
Brief Lives (1680), edited by Oliver Lawson Dick (1949), 129.
Science quotes on:  |  Aristotle (163)  |  Marcus Tullius Cicero (34)  |  William Harvey (29)

Often the confidence of the patient in his physician does more for the cure of his disease than the physician with all his remedies.
Reasserting the statement by Avicenna.
In James Joseph Walsh, Old-Time Makers of Medicine (1911), 270.
Science quotes on:  |  Confidence (41)  |  Disease (275)  |  Medicine (344)  |  Physician (243)

And I do not take my medicines from the apothecaries; their shops are but foul sculleries, from which comes nothing but foul broths. As for you, you defend your kingdom with belly-crawling and flattery. How long do you think this will last? ... let me tell you this: every little hair on my neck knows more than you and all your scribes, and my shoebuckles are more learned than your Galen and Avicenna, and my beard has more experience than all your high colleges.
'Credo', in J. Jacobi (ed.), Paracelsus: Selected Writings (1951), 80.
Science quotes on:  |  Apothecary (9)  |  Beard (7)  |  College (35)  |  Defense (18)  |  Experience (342)  |  Flattery (7)  |  Foul (8)  |  Galen (19)  |  Hair (25)  |  Kingdom (38)  |  Knowledge (1306)  |  Learning (177)  |  Medicine (344)  |  Neck (13)  |  Nothing (395)  |  Scribe (3)  |  Shop (11)

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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