Observation, Inference, and Imagination: Elements of Edgar Allan Poe’s Philosophy of Science

Science and Education:1-19 (forthcoming)
Abstract
Edgar Allan Poe’s standing as a literary figure, who drew on (and sometimes dabbled in) the scientific debates of his time, makes him an intriguing character for any exploration of the historical interrelationship between science, literature and philosophy. His sprawling ‘prose-poem’ Eureka (1848), in particular, has sometimes been scrutinized for anticipations of later scientific developments. By contrast, the present paper argues that it should be understood as a contribution to the raging debates about scientific methodology at the time. This methodological interest, which is echoed in Poe’s ‘tales of ratiocination’, gives rise to a proposed new mode of—broadly abductive—inference, which Poe attributes to the hybrid figure of the ‘poet-mathematician’. Without creative imagination and intuition, Science would necessarily remain incomplete, evenby its own standards. This concern with imaginative (abductive) inference ties in nicely with his coherentism, which grants pride of place to the twin virtues of Simplicity and Consistency, which must constrain imagination lest it degenerate into mere fancy.
Keywords Edgar Allan Poe  ratiocination  inference  abduction  inductivism  Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,350
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Krishna Rayan (1969). Edgar Allan Poe and Suggestiveness. British Journal of Aesthetics 9 (1):73-79.
James Blachowicz (1996). Ampliative Abduction. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 10 (2):141 – 157.
Ilkka Niiniluoto (1999). Defending Abduction. Philosophy of Science 66 (3):451.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-11-13

Total downloads

9 ( #152,628 of 1,096,714 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #105,642 of 1,096,714 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.