new problems for the argument view of thought experiments

Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil: EDIPUCRS (2021)
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Abstract: It is assumed that thought experiments are devices of imagination that can yield us beliefs constituting knowledge. Nevertheless, how thought experiments work to provide positive epistemic status is a controversial matter. One of the main approaches available in the literature to account for thought experiments is the so-called Argument View. Advocates of this view argue that thought experiments have no epistemic significance. They claim that there is not anything distinctive about thought experiments because they work just like arguments. In this paper, we challenge the argument view by presenting several objections that expose its implausibility. Explicitly, we examine fundamental aspects of the view – which involve the notions of “argument” and “inference” – to demonstrate that a thinker who comes to know something through the execution of a thought experiment will hardly be considered as effectively having executed an argument or a process of inferential reasoning.

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Tiegue Vieira Rodrigues
Federal University of Santa Maria


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