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  1. The Forever War: Understanding, Science Fiction, and Thought Experiments.Harald Wiltsche - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):1-24.
    The aim of this paper is to show that scientific thought experiments and works of science fiction are highly suitable tools for facilitating and increasing understanding of science. After comparing one of Einstein’s most famous thought experiments with the science fiction novel “The Forever War”, I shall argue that both proceed similarly in making some of the more outlandish consequences of special relativity theory intelligible. However, as I will also point out, understanding in thought experiments and understanding in science fiction (...)
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  • Imagination in Scientific Practice.Steven French - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-19.
    What is the role of the imagination in scientific practice? Here I focus on the nature and role of invitations to imagine in certain scientific texts as represented by the example of Einstein’s Special Relativity paper from 1905. Drawing on related discussions in aesthetics, I argue, on the one hand, that this role cannot be simply subsumed under ‘supposition’ but that, on the other, concerns about the impact of genre and symbolism can be dealt with, and hence present no obstacle (...)
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  • Towards a Dual Process Epistemology of Imagination.Michael T. Stuart - 2019 - Synthese (2):1-22.
    Sometimes we learn through the use of imagination. The epistemology of imagination asks how this is possible. One barrier to progress on this question has been a lack of agreement on how to characterize imagination; for example, is imagination a mental state, ability, character trait, or cognitive process? This paper argues that we should characterize imagination as a cognitive ability, exercises of which are cognitive processes. Following dual process theories of cognition developed in cognitive science, the set of imaginative processes (...)
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  • Constitutive Elements in Science Beyond Physics: The Case of the Hardy–Weinberg Principle.Michele Luchetti - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 14):3437-3461.
    In this paper, I present a new framework supporting the claim that some elements in science play a constitutive function, with the aim of overcoming some limitations of Friedman's (2001) account. More precisely, I focus on what I consider to be the gradualism implicit in Friedman's interpretation of the constitutive a priori, that is, the fact that it seems to allow for degrees of 'constitutivity'. I tease out such gradualism by showing that the constitutive character Friedman aims to track can (...)
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  • Scientific Coordination Beyond the A Priori: A Three-Dimensional Account of Constitutive Elements in Scientific Practice.Michele Luchetti - 2020 - Dissertation, Central European University
    In this dissertation, I present a novel account of the components that have a peculiar epistemic role in our scientific inquiries, since they contribute to establishing a form of coordination. The issue of coordination is a classic epistemic problem concerning how we justify our use of abstract conceptual tools to represent concrete phenomena. For instance, how could we get to represent universal gravitation as a mathematical formula or temperature by means of a numerical scale? This problem is particularly pressing when (...)
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  • The Multifaceted Role of Imagination in Science and Religion. A Critical Examination of its Epistemic, Creative and Meaning-Making Functions.Ingrid Malm Lindberg - 2021 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
    The main purpose of this dissertation is to examine critically and discuss the role of imagination in science and religion, with particular emphasis on its possible epistemic, creative, and meaning-making functions. In order to answer my research questions, I apply theories and concepts from contemporary philosophy of mind on scientific and religious practices. This framework allows me to explore the mental state of imagination, not as an isolated phenomenon but, rather, as one of many mental states that co-exist and interplay (...)
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  • Thought Experiments: State of the Art.Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James R. Brown - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London, UK: Routledge. pp. 1-28.
    This is the introduction to the Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments.
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  • Taming Theory with Thought Experiments: Understanding and Scientific Progress.Michael T. Stuart - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 58:24-33.
    I claim that one way thought experiments contribute to scientific progress is by increasing scientific understanding. Understanding does not have a currently accepted characterization in the philosophical literature, but I argue that we already have ways to test for it. For instance, current pedagogical practice often requires that students demonstrate being in either or both of the following two states: 1) Having grasped the meaning of some relevant theory, concept, law or model, 2) Being able to apply that theory, concept, (...)
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  • Peeking Inside the Black Box: A New Kind of Scientific Visualization.Michael T. Stuart & Nancy J. Nersessian - 2018 - Minds and Machines 29 (1):87-107.
    Computational systems biologists create and manipulate computational models of biological systems, but they do not always have straightforward epistemic access to the content and behavioural profile of such models because of their length, coding idiosyncrasies, and formal complexity. This creates difficulties both for modellers in their research groups and for their bioscience collaborators who rely on these models. In this paper we introduce a new kind of visualization that was developed to address just this sort of epistemic opacity. The visualization (...)
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  • Everyday Scientific Imagination: A Qualitative Study of the Uses, Norms, and Pedagogy of Imagination in Science.Michael T. Stuart - 2019 - Science & Education 28 (6-7):711-730.
    Imagination is necessary for scientific practice, yet there are no in vivo sociological studies on the ways that imagination is taught, thought of, or evaluated by scientists. This article begins to remedy this by presenting the results of a qualitative study performed on two systems biology laboratories. I found that the more advanced a participant was in their scientific career, the more they valued imagination. Further, positive attitudes toward imagination were primarily due to the perceived role of imagination in problem-solving. (...)
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  • Philosophical Conceptual Analysis as an Experimental Method.Michael T. Stuart - 2015 - In Thomas Gamerschlag, Doris Gerland, Rainer Osswald & Wiebke Petersen (eds.), Meaning, Frames, and Conceptual Representation. Düsseldorf University Press. pp. 267-292.
    Philosophical conceptual analysis is an experimental method. Focusing on this helps to justify it from the skepticism of experimental philosophers who follow Weinberg, Nichols & Stich. To explore the experimental aspect of philosophical conceptual analysis, I consider a simpler instance of the same activity: everyday linguistic interpretation. I argue that this, too, is experimental in nature. And in both conceptual analysis and linguistic interpretation, the intuitions considered problematic by experimental philosophers are necessary but epistemically irrelevant. They are like variables introduced (...)
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  • Thought Experiments.Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James R. Brown - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 25 (1):135-142.
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