HPS student Char Brecevic will be presenting her paper titled "The Role of Imagination in Ernst Mach's Philosophy of Science" at the 3rd annual Indiana University Graduate Student Conference on the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine. An abstract for her paper is provided below:
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 determine whether or not imagination is compatible with Machian philosophy of science. To achieve this, I will outline Max Planck’s and Rudolf Haller’s competing interpretations of Mach’s position on imagination. I will then propose that Mach’s view is likely to be found as an intermediate between these interpretations, as made clear in his biologico-economical view of science. I raise the possible objection that my conclusion is undermined by Mach’s criticism of Isaac Newton’s famous thought experiment, the “bucket experiment.” I conclude that Mach’s issue lies not with thought experimentation, tout court, but with the improper use of thought experimentation with respect to the aims of the biologico-economical development of science.