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Edgar Allan Poe, Eureka, and Scientific Imagination
Edgar Allan Poe, Eureka, and Scientific Imagination
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David N. Stamos - Author
Price: $90.00 
Hardcover - 602 pages
Release Date: March 2017
ISBN10: N/A
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-6391-9

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Explores the science and creative process behind Poe’s cosmological treatise.

In 1848, almost a year and a half before Edgar Allan Poe died at the age of forty, his book Eureka was published. In it, he weaved together his scientific speculations about the universe with his own literary theory, theology, and philosophy of science. Although Poe himself considered it to be his magnum opus, Eureka has mostly been overlooked or underappreciated, sometimes even to the point of being thought an elaborate hoax. Remarkably, however, in Eureka Poe anticipated at least nine major theories and developments in twentieth-century science, including the Big Bang theory, multiverse theory, and the solution to Olbers’ paradox. In this book—the first devoted specifically to Poe’s science side—David N. Stamos, a philosopher of science, combines scientific background with analysis of Poe’s life and work to highlight the creative and scientific achievements of this text. He examines Poe’s literary theory, theology, and intellectual development, and then compares Poe’s understanding of science with that of scientists and philosophers from his own time to the present. Next, Stamos pieces together and clarifies Poe’s theory of scientific imagination, which he then attempts to update and defend by providing numerous case studies of eureka moments in modern science and by seeking insights from comparative biography and psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and evolution.

Edgar Allan Poe, Eureka, and Scientific Imagination is the most comprehensive treatment of Eureka that has yet been published. It is staggeringly thorough in its analysis of Poe’s book, but it also shows how Poe’s theories of cosmogony and cosmology ramify into his fiction and poetry, especially the tales of ratiocination. Stamos takes Eureka seriously, and he does so with the empirical undergirding of vast amounts of scientific scholarship and literary criticism.” — James M. Hutchisson, author of Poe

David N. Stamos teaches philosophy at York University in Toronto. He is the author of several books, including Darwin and the Nature of Species, also published by SUNY Press.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Sources

1. Prologue
Entrée
Summaries
Discovering Poe
Poe’s House of Usher
Poe’s Poiesis

2. Poe’s Literary Theory
Entrée
The Problem
Pleasure, Plot, and Unity of Effect
Eureka as a “Prose Poem”

3. Poe’s Theology
Entrée
Poe’s Theology and the Problem of Evil
Artistic Sensitivity and Poe’s View of the World
The Argument from Beauty
The Problem of Pain
The Problem of Death
Beauty and Hope

4. Poe’s Intellectual Background
Entrée
Poe’s Formal Education
“Pinakidia”
The Conchologist’s First Book
“A on Science and Art”
The Bridgewater Treatises
Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation
Poe’s Scientific Sources for Eureka
Poe’s Criteria of Truth
Was Eureka a Hoax?

5. The Scientific Anticipations of Eureka
Entrée
Rejection of Axioms as Intuitively True
Big Bang Cosmogony
Fine-Tuning of the Laws of Nature
Non-Existence of Laws of Nature Before the Big Bang
Olbers’ Paradox
Multiverse Theory
Space–Time Interdependence
Matter–Energy Equivalence
No Material Ether

6. Imagination in Philosophy and History of Science
Entrée
Philosophy of Science in Poe’s Time
Logical Positivism
Logical Empiricism
Karl Popper
Thomas Kuhn
The New Experimentalism
The Disunity of Science Movement
Inference to the Best Explanation
Epistemic Virtues and Values
Evolutionary Epistemology
Contextualist History of Science
Charles Darwin
Albert Einstein
Mutation and Imagination, an Analogy

7. Poe’s Theory of Scientific Imagination
Entrée
Double Consciousness
Mesmeric Consciousness
Lunatics, Lovers, and Poets
Kepler, Champollion, and Humboldt
Leibniz, Newton, and Laplace
Poe’s “Double Dupin”
Against Deduction and Induction
The Poetic Intellect

8. Epilogue
Entrée
Unconscious Scientific Creativity
Comparative Biography and Psychology
Cognitive Science
Neuroscience
Evolution
Adieu

Index


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