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A. Jones, Ptolemy’s Epistemological Arsenal

January 10 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

In his *Harmonics*, Ptolemy (2nd century CE) outlines a strategy for
obtaining and refining scientific knowledge through alternating appeals to
sense perception and to reason, and he puts this strategy into practice in
both the *Harmonics* (concerning the pitch systems of Greco-Roman music)
and the *Almagest* (concerning the apparent movements and appearances of
the heavenly bodies). The fundamental role of empirical evidence in
Ptolemy’s scientific epistemology, however, is qualified by three
limitations: first, that all sense perceptions are inexact; second, that
identical phenomena can sometimes be explained through more than one
scientific hypothesis; and third, that mathematical structures may subsist
in some components of the cosmos without giving rise to clear phenomena.
This talk will explore ways in which Ptolemy addresses these limitations.


January 10
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Northrop Frye Hall, room 119
73 Queen's Park Crescent East
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7 Canada
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