The Epistemology of Thought Experiments: First Person versus Third Person Approaches

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):128-159 (2007)
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Recent third person approaches to thought experiments and conceptual analysis through the method of surveys are motivated by and motivate skepticism about the traditional first person method. I argue that such surveys give no good ground for skepticism, that they have some utility, but that they do not represent a fundamentally new way of doing philosophy, that they are liable to considerable methodological difficulties, and that they cannot be substituted for the first person method, since the a priori knowledge which is our object in conceptual analysis can be acquired only from the first person standpoint.
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