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The Footprints Of “Experiment” In Early Arabic Optics

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents the early developments of the concept of experiment with a view of extending the subject in both content and approach. It discusses the content of the subject slightly backward, prior to the methodological breakthroughs of the Optics of Ibn al-Haytham, which are credited as a "significant landmark in the history of experimental science". A Book on Optics and Burning Mirrors by Aḥmad ibn ‘Īsā, is a text with particularly revealing conceptions and expressions related to the historical meaning and developments of concepts such as 'demonstration' and 'experiment'. The chapter examines some modern discussions of early experiments with reference to the works of Ibn al-Haytham and Ibn Sahl. It also discusses meaning of the term i‘tibār in Ibn ‘Īsā’s Optics.

Keywords: experiment; i‘tibār; Ibn al-Haytham; Ibn Sahl; Optics



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