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What's the point of Margaret Cavendish's Blazing World?

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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.

This talk is part of the CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar series.

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