Authors
Char Brecevic
University of Notre Dame
Abstract
Some popular views of Ernst Mach cast him as a philosopher-scientist averse to imaginative practices in science. The aim of this analysis is to address the question of whether or not imagination is compatible with Machian philosophy of science. I conclude that imagination is not only compatible, but essential to realizing the aim of science in Mach’s biologico-economical view. I raise the possible objection that my conclusion is undermined by Mach’s criticism of Isaac Newton’s famous “bucket experiment.” I conclude that Mach’s issue lies not with thought experimentation, tout court, but with the improper use of thought experimentation as it relates to the aim of the biologico-economical development of science.
Keywords Ernst Mach  Imagination  Philosophy of Science  Thought Experiments
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DOI 10.1086/712974
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