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Conditionals, Inference, And Possibility In Ancient Mesopotamian Science

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Chapter Summary

The study of ancient Mesopotamian science is well developed from the standpoint of a reconstruction of its content, methods, and aims. Few attempts have been made to comment on philosophical dimensions of cuneiform scientific texts, that can be related to some issues in the philosophy of science. This chapter focuses on a part of the corpus which is comparatively problematic from a modern classificatory standpoint, namely the omen texts. It explores in a preliminary way a number of aspects of the logical and epistemic nature of the conditional statement in Babylonian science. Inferential reasoning is one of the fundamental ways in which the chapter describes a method for knowledge. The chapter focuses on formal considerations of Babylonian omen texts as a representative of one part of ancient Mesopotamian science. An attempt is made to put the predictive and empirical elements of the texts into a new frame of analysis.

Keywords: Babylonian omen text; conditional omen statement; cuneiform scientific text; epistemic possibility; inferential reasoning; Mesopotamian Science



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