The Philosophical Fancy of Cavendish’s Blazing World: An Allegorical Interpretation

Kultur & språk

Högre seminariet med Jonathan Shaheen, PhD in Philosophy, Uppsala universitet.

23 nov 2022
15:15 - 17:00
C664, Renströmsgatan 6, Göteborg

This talk presents an allegorical interpretation of The Blazing World, the novel Cavendish published together with her treatise Observations upon Experimental Philosophy. Cavendish claims that The Blazing World has a philosophical part, and that it coheres with Observations. Here Cavendish’s claims are vindicated by an interpretation of The Blazing World on which it is primarily an allegory for the metaphysics of Observations. In particular, the talk frames The Blazing World’s Empress’s power and epistemic projects as allegories for what Observations’ nature can do and know. The perspective offered here thereby allows for satisfying and hitherto unnoticed explanations of otherwise puzzling features of the novel. Within this framing, in the particular version of this talk I will present at Gothenburg, I am going to explore in some detail how Cavendish exploits the fictionality of The Blazing World to explore possible accounts of the saltiness of the sea, the causes of the tides and thunder, and the nature of stars.

Samarrangemang med Tidigmoderna seminariet.

Chair: Cecilia Rosengren