Although the term 'evidence-based medicine' (EBM) is of recent origin, its roots are generally agreed to lie in earlier times. Several writers have suggested that the 11th century CE physician and philosopher Avicenna (Ibn Sina) formulated an approach to EBM that broadly resembles modern-day principles and practice. The aim of this paper is to explore the origins and influence of Avicenna's version of EBM. A survey of the literature suggests that two influences on Avicenna's thought were crucial: the doctrine of Ijma; and Stoic logic, perhaps transmitted via the writings of Galen. In turn, Avicenna is known to have been a major influence on both medical practice and the development of logic in medieval Europe. Through this route, Avicennian logic (notably its inductive aspect) inspired the new style of thought associated with the scientific revolution, which later came to be reflected in 'scientific medicine', and may therefore have been an indirect source of EBM today.
- Drug testing
- Stoic philosophy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine