Travel has a long and intimate history with philosophy. Travel also has a long and intimate relationship with fiction. Sometimes travel fiction acts as ‘thought experiments’, experiments that we can run through in our heads.
This talk explores a 1666 fiction travelogue, Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World. In the novel, a virtuous young lady is kidnapped and travels by boat through the North Pole into a new world. I argue this is no mere piece of science fiction. Instead, this travelogue acts as a distinctly philosophical thought experiment, exploring the philosophy of science, utopias, and what it means to be real.