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A similar Islamic theological novel, Theologus Autodidactus, was written by the Arab theologian and physician Ibn al-Nafis in the 13th century.
It also dealt with the theme of empiricism through the story of a feral child on a desert island, but departed from its predecessor by depicting the development of the protagonist's mind through contact with society rather than in isolation from society.
These notions contrasted with Platonic notions of the human mind as an entity that pre-existed somewhere in the heavens, before being sent down to join a body on Earth (see Plato's Phaedo and Apology, as well as others).It is known that he was the essential pedagogical influence upon the young Galileo, his eldest son (cf. Music and Science in the Age of Galileo Galilei), arguably one of the most influential empiricists in history.Vincenzo, through his tuning research, found the underlying truth at the heart of the misunderstood myth of 'Pythagoras' hammers' (the square of the numbers concerned yielded those musical intervals, not the actual numbers, as believed), and through this and other discoveries that demonstrated the fallibility of traditional authorities, a radically empirical attitude developed, passed on to Galileo, which regarded "experience and demonstration" as the sine qua non of valid rational enquiry.The intellect itself develops from a material intellect (al-'aql al-hayulani), which is a potentiality "that can acquire knowledge to the active intellect (al-'aql al-fa'il), the state of the human intellect in conjunction with the perfect source of knowledge".So the immaterial "active intellect", separate from any individual person, is still essential for understanding to occur.