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  1. 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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  • How Thought Experiments Increase Understanding.Michael T. Stuart - 2017 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London: Routledge. pp. 526-544.
    We might think that thought experiments are at their most powerful or most interesting when they produce new knowledge. This would be a mistake; thought experiments that seek understanding are just as powerful and interesting, and perhaps even more so. A growing number of epistemologists are emphasizing the importance of understanding for epistemology, arguing that it should supplant knowledge as the central notion. In this chapter, I bring the literature on understanding in epistemology to bear on explicating the different ways (...)
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  • Imagination: A Sine Qua Non of Science.Michael T. Stuart - 2017 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy (49):9-32.
    What role does the imagination play in scientific progress? After examining several studies in cognitive science, I argue that one thing the imagination does is help to increase scientific understanding, which is itself indispensable for scientific progress. Then, I sketch a transcendental justification of the role of imagination in this process.
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  • Representing and Intervening.Ian Hacking - 1983 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (4):381-390.
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  • What is Understanding? An Overview of Recent Debates in Epistemology and Philosophy of Science.Christoph Baumberger, Claus Beisbart & Georg Brun - 2017 - In Stephen Grimm Christoph Baumberger & Sabine Ammon (eds.), Explaining Understanding: New Perspectives from Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 1-34.
    The paper provides a systematic overview of recent debates in epistemology and philosophy of science on the nature of understanding. We explain why philosophers have turned their attention to understanding and discuss conditions for “explanatory” understanding of why something is the case and for “objectual” understanding of a whole subject matter. The most debated conditions for these types of understanding roughly resemble the three traditional conditions for knowledge: truth, justification and belief. We discuss prominent views about how to construe these (...)
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  • Virtues of the Mind: An Inquiry Into the Nature of Virtue and the Ethical Foundations of Knowledge.Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski - 1996 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
    Almost all theories of knowledge and justified belief employ moral concepts and forms of argument borrowed from moral theories, but none of them pay attention to the current renaissance in virtue ethics. This remarkable book is the first attempt to establish a theory of knowledge based on the model of virtue theory in ethics. The book develops the concept of an intellectual virtue, and then shows how the concept can be used to give an account of the major concepts in (...)
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  • The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences.James Robert Brown - 1991 - New York: Routledge.
    Newton's bucket, Einstein's elevator, Schrödinger's cat – these are some of the best-known examples of thought experiments in the natural sciences. But what function do these experiments perform? Are they really experiments at all? Can they help us gain a greater understanding of the natural world? How is it possible that we can learn new things just by thinking? In this revised and updated new edition of his classic text _The Laboratory of the Mind_, James Robert Brown continues to defend (...)
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  • An Epistemological Role for Thought Experiments.Michael Bishop - 1998 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 63:19-34.
    Why should a thought experiment, an experiment that only exists in people's minds, alter our fundamental beliefs about reality? After all, isn't reasoning from the imaginary to the real a sign of psychosis? A historical survey of how thought experiments have shaped our physical laws might lead one to believe that it's not the case that the laws of physics lie - it's that they don't even pretend to tell the truth. My aim in this paper is to defend an (...)
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  • James Robert Brown: Thought experiments and platonism. Part two.Nancy J. Nersessian, Dunja Jutronic, Ksenija Puskaric, Nenad Miscevic, Andreas K. A. Georgiou & James Robert Brown - 2007 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (20):125-268.
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  • What is Experimental about Thought Experiments?David C. Gooding - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:280 - 290.
    I argue that thought experiments are a form of experimental reasoning similar to real experiments. They require the same ability to participate by following a narrative as real experiments do. Participation depends in turn on using what we already know to visualize, manipulate and understand what is unfamiliar or problematic. I defend the claim that visualization requires embodiment by an example which shows how tacit understanding of the properties of represented objects and relations enables us to work out how such (...)
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  • In the Theoretician's Laboratory: Thought Experimenting as Mental Modeling.Nancy J. Nersessian - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:291 - 301.
    Thought experiments have played a prominent role in numerous cases of conceptual change in science. I propose that research in cognitive psychology into the role of mental modeling in narrative comprehension can illuminate how and why thought experiments work. In thought experimenting a scientist constructs and manipulates a mental simulation of the experimental situation. During this process, she makes use of inferencing mechanisms, existing representations, and general world knowledge to make realistic transformations from one possible physical state to the next. (...)
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  • Presentational Phenomenology.Elijah Chudnoff - 2012 - In Sofia Miguens & Gerhard Preyer (eds.), Consciousness and Subjectivity. [Place of publication not identified]: Ontos Verlag. pp. 51–72.
    A blindfolded clairvoyant walks into a room and immediately knows how it is arranged. You walk in and immediately see how it is arranged. Though both of you represent the room as being arranged in the same way, you have different experiences. Your experience doesn’t just represent that the room is arranged a certain way; it also visually presents the very items in the room that make that representation true. Call the felt aspect of your experience made salient by this (...)
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  • A Function for Thought Experiments.T. Kuhn - 1981 - In David Zaret (ed.), Review of Thomas S. Kuhn The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change. Duke University Press. pp. 240-265.
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  • On the electrodynamics of moving bodies.Albert Einstein - 1920 - In The Principle of Relativity. [Calcutta]: Dover Publications. pp. 35-65.
    It is known that Maxwell’s electrodynamics—as usually understood at the present time—when applied to moving bodies, leads to asymmetries which do not appear to be inherent in the phenomena. Take, for example, the reciprocal electrodynamic action of a magnet and a conductor. The observable phenomenon here depends only on the relative motion of the conductor and the magnet, whereas the customary view draws a sharp distinction between the two cases in which either the one or the other of these bodies (...)
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  • Thought experiments since the scientific revolution.James Robert Brown - 1986 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1 (1):1 – 15.
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  • Thought experiments.Roy A. Sorensen - 1992 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Sorensen presents a general theory of thought experiments: what they are, how they work, what are their virtues and vices. On Sorensen's view, philosophy differs from science in degree, but not in kind. For this reason, he claims, it is possible to understand philosophical thought experiments by concentrating on their resemblance to scientific relatives. Lessons learned about scientific experimentation carry over to thought experiment, and vice versa. Sorensen also assesses the hazards and pseudo-hazards of thought experiments. Although he grants that (...)
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  • Are Thought Experiments Just What You Thought?John D. Norton - 1996 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):333 - 366.
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 26, pp. 333-66. 1996.
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  • A material theory of induction.John D. Norton - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (4):647-670.
    Contrary to formal theories of induction, I argue that there are no universal inductive inference schemas. The inductive inferences of science are grounded in matters of fact that hold only in particular domains, so that all inductive inference is local. Some are so localized as to defy familiar characterization. Since inductive inference schemas are underwritten by facts, we can assess and control the inductive risk taken in an induction by investigating the warrant for its underwriting facts. In learning more facts, (...)
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  • Galileo and the indispensability of scientific thought experiment.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 1998 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (3):397-424.
    By carefully examining one of the most famous thought experiments in the history of science—that by which Galileo is said to have refuted the Aristotelian theory that heavier bodies fall faster than lighter ones—I attempt to show that thought experiments play a distinctive role in scientific inquiry. Reasoning about particular entities within the context of an imaginary scenario can lead to rationally justified concluusions that—given the same initial information—would not be rationally justifiable on the basis of a straightforward argument.
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  • Why Thought Experiments are Not Arguments.Michael A. Bishop - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (4):534-541.
    Are thought experiments nothing but arguments? I argue that it is not possible to make sense of the historical trajectory of certain thought experiments if one takes them to be arguments. Einstein and Bohr disagreed about the outcome of the clock-in-the-box thought experiment, and so they reconstructed it using different arguments. This is to be expected whenever scientists disagree about a thought experiment's outcome. Since any such episode consists of two arguments but just one thought experiment, the thought experiment cannot (...)
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  • The material theory of induction.John D. Norton - 2021 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada: University of Calgary Press.
    The inaugural title in the new, Open Access series BSPS Open, The Material Theory of Induction will initiate a new tradition in the analysis of inductive inference. The fundamental burden of a theory of inductive inference is to determine which are the good inductive inferences or relations of inductive support and why it is that they are so. The traditional approach is modeled on that taken in accounts of deductive inference. It seeks universally applicable schemas or rules or a single (...)
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  • In and About the World: Philosophical Studies of Science and Technology.Hans Radder - 1996 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 59 (2):377-377.
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  • Thought Experiment: On the Powers and Limits of Imaginary Cases.Tamar Gendler - 2000 - New York: Routledge.
    This book offers a novel analysis of the widely-used but ill-understood technique of thought experiment. The author argues that the powers and limits of this methodology can be traced to the fact that when the contemplation of an imaginary scenario brings us to new knowledge, it does so by forcing us to make sense of exceptional cases.
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  • Thought Experimenting as Mental Modeling.Nancy J. Nersessian - 2007 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):125-161.
    The paper argues that the practice of thought experintenting enables scientists to follow through the implications of a way of representing nature by simulating an exemplary or representative situation that is feasible within that representation. What distinguishes thought experimenting from logical argument and other forms of propositional reasoning is that reasoning by means of a thought experiment involves constructing and simulating a mental model of a representative situation. Although thought experimenting is a creative part of scientific practice, it is a (...)
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  • The Intellectual Virtues and the Life of the Mind: On the Place of the Virtues in Contemporary Epistemology.Jonathan L. Kvanvig - 1992 - Savage, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.
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  • Chasing the Light Einsteinʼs Most Famous Thought Experiment.John D. Norton - unknown
    At the age of sixteen, Einstein imagined chasing after a beam of light. He later recalled that the thought experiment had played a memorable role in his development of special relativity. Famous as it is, it has proven difficult to understand just how the thought experiment delivers its results. It fails to generate problems for an ether-based electrodynamics. I propose that Einstein’s canonical statement of the thought experiment from his 1946 “Autobiographical Notes,” makes most sense not as an argument against (...)
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  • How do Scientists Think? Capturing the Dynamics of Conceptual Change in Science.Nancy Nersessian - 1992 - In R. Giere & H. Feigl (eds.), Cognitive Models of Science. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 3--45.
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  • A material dissolution of the problem of induction.John D. Norton - 2014 - Synthese 191 (4):1-20.
    In a formal theory of induction, inductive inferences are licensed by universal schemas. In a material theory of induction, inductive inferences are licensed by facts. With this change in the conception of the nature of induction, I argue that the celebrated “problem of induction” can no longer be set up and is thereby dissolved. Attempts to recreate the problem in the material theory of induction fail. They require relations of inductive support to conform to an unsustainable, hierarchical empiricism.
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  • Scientific Reasoning Is Material Inference: Combining Confirmation, Discovery, and Explanation.Ingo Brigandt - 2010 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):31-43.
    Whereas an inference (deductive as well as inductive) is usually viewed as being valid in virtue of its argument form, the present paper argues that scientific reasoning is material inference, i.e., justified in virtue of its content. A material inference is licensed by the empirical content embodied in the concepts contained in the premises and conclusion. Understanding scientific reasoning as material inference has the advantage of combining different aspects of scientific reasoning, such as confirmation, discovery, and explanation. This approach explains (...)
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  • There Are No Universal Rules for Induction.John D. Norton - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (5):765-777.
    In a material theory of induction, inductive inferences are warranted by facts that prevail locally. This approach, it is urged, is preferable to formal theories of induction in which the good inductive inferences are delineated as those conforming to some universal schema. An inductive inference problem concerning indeterministic, non-probabilistic systems in physics is posed and it is argued that Bayesians cannot responsibly analyze it, thereby demonstrating that the probability calculus is not the universal logic of induction.
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  • How Hume and Mach helped Einstein find special relativity.John D. Norton - 2010 - In Michael Friedman, Mary Domski & Michael Dickson (eds.), Discourse on a New Method: Reinvigorating the Marriage of History and Philosophy of Science. Open Court. pp. 359--86.
    In recounting his discovery of special relativity, Einstein recalled a debt to the philosophical writings of Hume and Mach. I review the path Einstein took to special relativity and urge that, at a critical juncture, he was aided decisively not by any specific doctrine of space and time, but by a general account of concepts that Einstein found in Hume and Mach’s writings. That account required that concepts, used to represent the physical, must be properly grounded in experience. In so (...)
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  • Why Thought Experiments Do Not Transcend Empiricism.John D. Norton - 2004 - In Christopher Hitchcock (ed.), Contemporary debates in philosophy of science. Malden, MA: Blackwell. pp. 44-66.
    Thought experiments are ordinary argumentation disguised in a vivid pictorial or narrative form. This account of their nature will allow me to show that empiricism has nothing to fear from thought experiments. They perform no epistemic magic. In so far as they tell us about the world, thought experiments draw upon what we already know of it, either explicitly or tacitly; they then transform that knowledge by disguised argumentation. They can do nothing more epistemically than can argumentation. I defend my (...)
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  • On thought experiments: Is there more to the argument?John D. Norton - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1139-1151.
    Thought experiments in science are merely picturesque argumentation. I support this view in various ways, including the claim that it follows from the fact that thought experiments can err but can still be used reliably. The view is defended against alternatives proposed by my cosymposiasts.
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  • Thought experiments rethought—and reperceived.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1152-1163.
    Contemplating imaginary scenarios that evoke certain sorts of quasi‐sensory intuitions may bring us to new beliefs about contingent features of the natural world. These beliefs may be produced quasi‐observationally; the presence of a mental image may play a crucial cognitive role in the formation of the belief in question. And this albeit fallible quasi‐observational belief‐forming mechanism may, in certain contexts, be sufficiently reliable to count as a source of justification. This sheds light on the central puzzle surrounding scientific thought experiment, (...)
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  • Thought Experiments and Simulation Experiments: Exploring Hypothetical Worlds.Johannes Lenhard - unknown
    Both thought experiments and simulation experiments apparently belong to the family of experiments, though they are somewhat special members because they work without intervention into the natural world. Instead they explore hypothetical worlds. For this reason many have wondered whether referring to them as “experiments” is justified at all. While most authors are concerned with only one type of “imagined” experiment – either simulation or thought experiment – the present chapter hopes to gain new insight by considering what the two (...)
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  • A model for thought experiments.Sören Häggqvist - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (1):pp. 55-76.
    Philosophical interest in thought experiments has grown over the last couple of decades. Several positions have emerged, defined largely by their differing responses to a perceived epistemological challenge: how do thought experiments yield justified belief revision, even in science, when they provide no new empirical data? Attitudes towards this supposed explanandum differ. Many philosophers accept that it poses a genuine puzzle and hence seek to provide a substantive explanation. Others reject or deflate the epistemic claims made for thought experiments.In this (...)
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  • Norton and the Logic of Thought Experiments.Michael T. Stuart - 2016 - Axiomathes 26 (4):451-466.
    John D. Norton defends an empiricist epistemology of thought experiments, the central thesis of which is that thought experiments are nothing more than arguments. Philosophers have attempted to provide counterexamples to this claim, but they haven’t convinced Norton. I will point out a more fundamental reason for reformulation that criticizes Norton’s claim that a thought experiment is a good one when its underlying logical form possesses certain desirable properties. I argue that by Norton’s empiricist standards, no thought experiment is ever (...)
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  • Knowledge in Perspective: Selected Essays in Epistemology.Ernest Sosa - 1991 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
    Ever since Plato, philosophers have faced one central question: what is the scope and nature of human knowledge? In this volume the distinguished philosopher Ernest Sosa collects essays on this subject written over a period of twenty-five years. All the major topics of contemporary epistemology are covered: the nature of propositional knowledge; externalism versus internalism; foundationalism versus coherentism; and the problem of the criterion. 'Sosa is one of the most prominent and most important epistemologists on the current American scene.' William (...)
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  • Thought Experiments in Philosophy.Soren Haggqvist - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (3):480.
    Philosophy and science employ abstract hypothetical scenarios- thought experiments - to illustrate, defend, and dispute theoretical claims. Since thought experiments furnish no new empirical observations, the method prompts two epistemological questions: whether anything may be learnt from the merely hypothetical, and, if so, how. Various sceptical arguments against the use of thought experiments in philosophy are discussed and criticized. The thesis that thought experiments in science provide a priori knowledge through non-sensory grasping of abstract entities is discussed and rejected. The (...)
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  • Knowledge and Error: Sketches on the Psychology of Enquiry.Ernst Mach - 1975 - Reidel.
    Erkenntnis und Irrtum. Skizzen zur Psychologie der Forschung. Von E. MACH Emer. Professor an der Unlversltlt Wlen. LEIPZIG Verlag von Johann Ambrosius Barth 1905. INTRODUCTION XIII On a number of occasions Mach expressed the sentiment, especially in his correspondence, that America was the land of intellectual freedom and opportunity, the coming frontier for a new radical empiricism that would help to wash metaphysics out of philosophy. In 1901 he sponsored the German edition of Concepts and Theories of Modern Physics (1881) (...)
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  • On thought experiments as a priori science.Richard Arthur - 1999 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (3):215 – 229.
    Against Norton's claim that all thought experiments can be reduced to explicit arguments, I defend Brown's position that certain thought experiments yield a priori knowledge. They do this, I argue, not by allowing us to perceive “Platonic universals” (Brown), even though they may contain non-propositional components that are epistemically indispensable, but by helping to identify certain tacit presuppositions or “natural interpretations” (Feyerabend's term) that lead to a contradiction when the phenomenon is described in terms of them, and by suggesting a (...)
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  • The Worst Thought Experiment.John D. Norton - 2017 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London: Routledge.
    In Leo Szilard’s 1929 thought experiment, a Maxwell demon manipulates a one-molecule gas to reverse the second law of thermodynamics. The demon must fail, Szilard argued, since there is hidden entropy creation in the demon’s collecting of information. This thought experiment is an inconsistent muddle of improper idealizations. It diverted an already successful literature of exorcism into degenerating speculations about about a connection between thermodynamic entropy and information. These confusions persist today in a voluminous literature. Narrative conventions in a thought (...)
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  • Thought Experiment in the Natural Sciences. An Operational and Reflective-Transcendental Conception.Marco Buzzoni - 2008 - Würzburg, Germany: Königshausen+Neumann.
    This work interprets the notion of thought experiment (TE) from the viewpoint of a functional reading of the a priori, that is, an a priori that is devoid of any particular content. It is true that Kant ascribes some content to the (synthetic) a priori, but only a functional reading of the a priori agrees with the spirit of Kant's philosophy and can be used for developing a consistent account of TEs. On the basis of this concept of the a (...)
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  • In and About the World: Philosophical Studies of Science and Technology.Hans Radder - 1996 - State University of New York Press.
    Offers a new approach to a number of central issues concerning the theoretical interpretation and normative evaluation of contemporary science and technology.
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  • Modelling Intuitions and Thought Experiments.Nenad Miščević - 2007 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):181-214.
    The first, critical part of the paper summarizes J. R. Brown’s Platonic view of thought experiments (TEs) and raises several questions. One of them concerns the initial, particular judgments in a TE. Since they seem to precede the general insight, Brown’s Platonic intuition, and not to derive from it, the question arises as to the nature of the initial particular judgment. The other question concerns the explanatory status of Brown’s epistemic Platonism. The second, constructive descriptive-explanatory part argues for an alternative, (...)
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  • A little survey of induction.John D. Norton - 2005 - In Peter Achinstein (ed.), Scientific Evidence: Philosophical Theories & Applications. The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 9-34.
    My purpose in this chapter is to survey some of the principal approaches to inductive inference in the philosophy of science literature. My first concern will be the general principles that underlie the many accounts of induction in this literature. When these accounts are considered in isolation, as is more commonly the case, it is easy to overlook that virtually all accounts depend on one of very few basic principles and that the proliferation of accounts can be understood as efforts (...)
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  • On Thought Experiments: Is There More to the Argument?John D. Norton - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1139-1151.
    Thought experiments in science are merely picturesque argumentation. I support this view in various ways, including the claim that it follows from the fact that thought experiments can err but can still be used reliably. The view is defended against alternatives proposed by my cosymposiasts.
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  • Thought Experiments.Roy A. Sorensen - 1992 - Oxford and New York: Oup Usa.
    In this book, Sorensen presents the first general theory of the thought experiment. He analyses a wide variety of thought experiments, ranging from aesthetics to zoology, and explores what thought experiments are, how they work, and what their positive and negative aspects are. Sorensen also sets his theory within an evolutionary framework and integrates recent advances in experimental psychology and the history of science.
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  • Experiment and the Making of Meaning: Human Agency in Scientific Observation and Experiment.D. C. Gooding - 1994 - Springer.
    ... the topic of 'meaning' is the one topic discussed in philosophy in which there is literally nothing but 'theory' - literally nothing that can be labelled or even ridiculed as the 'common sense view'. Putnam, 'The Meaning of Meaning' This book explores some truths behind the truism that experimentation is a hallmark of scientific activity. Scientists' descriptions of nature result from two sorts of encounter: they interact with each other and with nature. Philosophy of science has, by and large, (...)
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  • Paradoxes of Sailing.John D. Norton - 2012-07-01 - In Patrick Goold & Fritz Allhoff (eds.), Sailing – Philosophy for Everyone. Blackwell. pp. 148–163.
    This chapter contains sections titled: Appendix: Analysis of the Wind‐Powered Boat.
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