James Robert Brown, “Plato’s Heaven: A User’s Guide” (Open Agenda, 2021)

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Plato’s Heaven: A User’s Guide is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and James Robert Brown, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. This wide-ranging conversation addresses a central theme in current philosophy: Platonism vs. Naturalism and provides accounts of both approaches to mathematics. The Platonist-Naturalist debate over mathematics is explored in a comprehensive fashion and also sheds light on non-mathematical aspects of a dispute that is central to contemporary philosophy. Thought experiments stand as a fascinating challenge to the necessity of data in the empirical sciences. Are these experiments, conducted uniquely in our imagination, simply rhetorical devices or communication tools or are they an essential part of scientific practice? This book also surveys the current state of this debate and explores new avenues of research into the epistemology of thought experiments.

Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at howard@ideasroadshow.com.

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