Imagination in Scientific Practice

European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-19 (2020)
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What is the role of the imagination in scientific practice? Here I focus on the nature and role of invitations to imagine in certain scientific texts as represented by the example of Einstein’s Special Relativity paper from 1905. Drawing on related discussions in aesthetics, I argue, on the one hand, that this role cannot be simply subsumed under ‘supposition’ but that, on the other, concerns about the impact of genre and symbolism can be dealt with, and hence present no obstacle to regarding imagination as appropriately belief-like. By applying the framework of ‘semi- propositional representations’ and ‘quasi-truth’ to this case I thereby offer a new unitary framework for understanding the epistemology of scientific imagination.



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Steven French
University of Leeds

Citations of this work

What is a Beautiful Experiment?Milena Ivanova - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-19.
Thought Experiments and the Scientific Imagination.Alice Murphy - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Leeds
Imagination in science.Alice Murphy - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (6):e12836.

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References found in this work

Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
In contradiction: a study of the transconsistent.Graham Priest - 2006 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Recreative Minds: Imagination in Philosophy and Psychology.Gregory Currie & Ian Ravenscroft - 2002 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press. Edited by Christoph Hoerl.

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