6 December, 1 p.m., HPS department, seminar room 2 in the basement.
Emily Thomas of Durham will talk on 'What’s the Point of Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World?
Travel, Science, and Thought Experiments'.
Abstract: 'Travel has a long and intimate history with philosophy.
Travel also has a long and intimate relationship with fiction. Sometimes
travel fiction acts as ‘thought experiments’, experiments that we can
run through in our heads. This talk explores a 1666 fiction travelogue,
Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World. In the novel, a virtuous young lady
is kidnapped and travels by boat through the North Pole into a new
world. I argue this is no mere piece of science fiction. Instead, this
travelogue acts as a distinctly philosophical thought experiment,
exploring the pros and cons of Baconian philosophy of science, utopias,
and what it means to be real.'