Results for 'Thought Experiments'

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  1. How Thought Experiments Increase Understanding.Michael T. Stuart - 2018 - 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 (...)
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  2. 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 (...)
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  3. 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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  4. Transplant Thought-Experiments: Two Costly Mistakes in Discounting Them.Simon Beck - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):189-199.
    ‘Transplant’ thought-experiments, in which the cerebrum is moved from one body to another, have featured in a number of recent discussions in the personal identity literature. Once taken as offering confirmation of some form of psychological continuity theory of identity, arguments from Marya Schechtman and Kathleen Wilkes have contended that this is not the case. Any such apparent support is due to a lack of detail in their description or a reliance on predictions that we are in no (...)
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  5. The Epistemology of Thought Experiments: First Person Versus Third Person Approaches.Kirk Ludwig - 2007 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):128-159.
    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 (...)
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  6. Thought Experiments in Experimental Philosophy.Kirk Ludwig - 2016 - In Mike Stuart, James Robert Brown & Yiftach J. H. Fehige (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. New York: Routledge. pp. 385-405.
    Much of the recent movement organized under the heading “Experimental Philosophy” has been concerned with the empirical study of responses to thought experiments drawn from the literature on philosophical analysis. I consider what bearing these studies have on the traditional projects in which thought experiments have been used in philosophy. This will help to answer the question what the relation is between Experimental Philosophy and philosophy, whether it is an “exciting new style of [philosophical] research”, “a (...)
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  7. Philosophical Thought Experiments as Heuristics for Theory Discovery.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen & Sara Kier Praëm - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):2827-2842.
    The growing literature on philosophical thought experiments has so far focused almost exclusively on the role of thought experiments in confirming or refuting philosophical hypotheses or theories. In this paper we draw attention to an additional and largely ignored role that thought experiments frequently play in our philosophical practice: some thought experiments do not merely serve as means for testing various philosophical hypotheses or theories, but also serve as facilitators for conceiving and (...)
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  8. Actions, Thought-Experiments and the 'Principle of Alternate Possibilities'.Maria Alvarez - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):61 – 81.
    In 1969 Harry Frankfurt published his hugely influential paper 'Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility' in which he claimed to present a counterexample to the so-called 'Principle of Alternate Possibilities' ('a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise'). The success of Frankfurt-style cases as counterexamples to the Principle has been much debated since. I present an objection to these cases that, in questioning their conceptual cogency, undercuts many of those debates. Such cases (...)
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  9. Thought Experiments in Biology.Guillaume Schlaepfer & Marcel Weber - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London: Routledge. pp. 243-256.
    Unlike in physics, the category of thought experiment is not very common in biology. At least there are no classic examples that are as important and as well-known as the most famous thought experiments in physics, such as Galileo’s, Maxwell’s or Einstein’s. The reasons for this are far from obvious; maybe it has to do with the fact that modern biology for the most part sees itself as a thoroughly empirical discipline that engages either in real natural (...)
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  10.  59
    Can Thought Experiments Solve Problems of Personal Identity?Lukas J. Meier - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-23.
    Good physical experiments conform to the basic methodological standards of experimental design: they are objective, reliable, and valid. But is this also true of thought experiments? Especially problems of personal identity have engendered hypothetical scenarios that are very distant from the actual world. These imagined situations have been conspicuously ineffective at resolving conflicting intuitions and deciding between the different accounts of personal identity. Using prominent examples from the literature, I argue that this is due to many of (...)
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  11. Thought Experiments in Current Metaphilosophical Debates.Daniel Cohnitz & Sören Häggqvist - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 406-424.
    Although thought experiments were first discovered as a sui generis methodological tool by philosophers of science (most prominently by Ernst Mach), the tool can also be found – even more frequently – in contemporary philosophy. Thought experiments in philosophy and science have a lot in common. However, in this chapter we will concentrate on thought experiments in philosophy only. Their use has been the centre of attention of metaphilosophical discussion in the past decade, and (...)
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  12.  87
    Thought Experiments and Experimental Ethics.Thomas Pölzler & Norbert Paulo - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Experimental ethicists investigate traditional ethical questions with non-traditional means, namely with the methods of the empirical sciences. Studies in this area have made heavy use of philosophical thought experiments such as the well-known trolley cases. Yet, the specific function of these thought experiments within experimental ethics has received little consideration. In this paper we attempt to fill this gap. We begin by describing the function of ethical thought experiments, and show that these thought (...)
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  13. Superhero Thought Experiments: Comic Book Philosophy.Nathaniel Goldberg - 2019 - Iowa City, IA, USA: University of Iowa.
    What would happen if lightning struck a tree in a swamp and transformed it into The Swampman, or if saving billions of lives required sacrificing millions first? The first is a philosophical thought experiment devised by Donald Davidson, the second a theme from a comic written by Alan Moore. I argue that that comics can be read as containing thought experiments and that such philosophical devises should be shared with students of all ages.
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  14. Moral Thought-Experiments, Intuitions, and Heuristics.Friderik Klampfer - 2018 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 18 (1):133-160.
    Philosophical thought-experimentation has a long and influential history. In recent years, however, both the traditionally secure place of the method of thought experimentation in philosophy and its presumed epistemic credentials have been increasingly and repeatedly questioned. In the paper, I join the choir of the discontents. I present and discuss two types of evidence that in my opinion undermine our close-to-blind trust in moral thought experiments and the intuitions that these elicit: the disappointing record of (...)-experimentation in contemporary moral philosophy, and the more general considerations explaining why this failure is not accidental. The diagnosis is not optimistic. The past record of moral TEs is far from impressive. Most, if not all, moral TEs fail to corroborate their target moral hypotheses. Moral intuitions appear to be produced by moral heuristics which we have every reason to suspect will systematically misfi re in typical moral TEs. Rather than keep relying on moral TEs, we should therefore begin to explore other, more sound alternatives to thought-experimentation in moral philosophy. (shrink)
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  15. Thought Experiments in Philosophy of Religion.Elliot Knuths & Charles Taliaferro - 2017 - Open Theology 3 (1):167-173.
    We present a criterion for the use of thought experiments as a guide to possibilia that bear on important arguments in philosophy of religion. We propose that the more successful thought experiments are closer to the world in terms of phenomenological realism and the values they are intended to track. This proposal is filled out by comparing thought experiments of life after death by Peter van Inwagen and Dean Zimmerman with an idealist thought (...)
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  16.  58
    Thought Experiments and Personal Identity in Africa.Simon Beck - 2021 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 7 (4):239-452.
    African perspectives on personhood and personal identity and their relation to those of the West have become far more central in mainstream Western discussion than they once were. Not only are African traditional views with their emphasis on the importance of community and social relations more widely discussed, but that emphasis has also received much wider acceptance and gained more influence among Western philosophers. Despite this convergence, there is at least one striking way in which the discussions remain apart and (...)
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  17. How to Use Thought Experiments.Elijah Chudnoff - forthcoming - In Ernest Sosa, Matthias Steup, John Turri & Blake Roeber (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 3rd edition. Wiley-Blackwell.
    Thought experiments figure prominently in contemporary epistemology. Beyond that humdrum observation, controversy abounds. The aim of this paper is to make progress on two fronts. On the descriptive front, the aim is to illuminate what the practice of using thought experiments involves. On the normative front, the aim is to illuminate what the practice of using thought experiments should involve. Thought experiments result in judgments that are passed on to further philosophical reasoning. (...)
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  18. Semantic Externalism Without Thought Experiments.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2018 - Analysis (1):81-89.
    Externalism is the thesis that the contents of intentional states and speech acts are not determined by the way the subjects of those states or acts are internally. It is a widely accepted but not entirely uncontroversial thesis. Among such theses in philosophy, externalism is notable for owing the assent it commands almost entirely to thought experiments, especially to variants of Hilary Putnam's famous Twin Earth scenario. This paper presents a thought experiment-free argument for externalism. It shows (...)
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  19. Externalist Thought Experiments and Direction of Fit.Casey Woodling - 2017 - Argumenta 3 (1):139-156.
    The classic thought experiments for Content Externalism have been motivated by consideration of intentional states with a mind-to-world direction of fit. In this paper, I argue that when these experiments are run on intentional states with a world-to-mind direction of fit, the thought experiments actually support Content Internalism. Because of this, I argue that the classic thought experiments alone cannot properly motivate Content Externalism. I do not show that Content Externalism is false in (...)
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  20. Wittgenstein’s Thought Experiments and Relativity Theory.Carlo Penco - 2020 - In Shyam Wuppuluri & Newton da Costa (eds.), Wittgensteinian : Looking at the World From the Viewpoint of Wittgenstein's Philosophy. Berlin: Springer Verlag. pp. 341-362.
    In this paper, I discuss the similarity between Wittgenstein’s use of thought experiments and Relativity Theory. I begin with introducing Wittgenstein’s idea of “thought experiments” and a tentative classification of different kinds of thought experiments in Wittgenstein’s work. Then, after presenting a short recap of some remarks on the analogy between Wittgenstein’s point of view and Einstein’s, I suggest three analogies between the status of Wittgenstein’s mental experiments and Relativity theory: the topics of (...)
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  21. Judgements About Thought Experiments.Alexander Geddes - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):35-67.
    Thought experiments invite us to evaluate philosophical theses by making judgements about hypothetical cases. When the judgements and the theses conflict, it is often the latter that are rejected. But what is the nature of the judgements such that they are able to play this role? I answer this question by arguing that typical judgements about thought experiments are in fact judgements of normal counterfactual sufficiency. I begin by focusing on Anna-Sara Malmgren’s defence of the claim (...)
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  22. A Thought Experiment of Cross-Cultural Comparison. The Question of Rationality.Mona Mamulea - 2012 - Cercetări Filosofico-Psihologice 4 (2):105-114.
    David Bloor’s thought experiment is taken into consideration to suggest that the rationality of the Other cannot be inferred by way of argument for the reason that it is unavoidably contained as a hidden supposition by any argument engaged in proving it. We are able to understand a different culture only as far as we recognize in it the same kind of rationality that works in our own culture. Another kind of rationality is either impossible, or indiscernible.
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  23. Getting Gettier Straight: Thought Experiments, Deviant Realizations and Default Interpretations.Pierre Saint-Germier - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):1783-1806.
    It has been pointed out that Gettier case scenarios have deviant realizations and that deviant realizations raise a difficulty for the logical analysis of thought experiments. Grundmann and Horvath have shown that it is possible to rule out deviant realizations by suitably modifying the scenario of a Gettier-style thought experiment. They hypothesize further that the enriched scenario corresponds to the way expert epistemologists implicitly interpret the original one. However, no precise account of this implicit enrichment is offered, (...)
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  24. Thought Experiments in Ethics.Gusztáv Kovács - 2021 - Pécs, Magyarország: Episcopal Theological College of Pécs.
    Thought Experiments in Ethics, 2021 CONTENTS Preface i Chapter I The Story in Your Head: Tomoceuszkakatiti and Gyugyu 1 Chapter II How Thought Experiments Move Us: The Samaritan and His Neighbours 16 Chapter III What Makes a Thought Experiment? 34 Chapter IV Thought Experiments in Practical Philosophy and Bioethics 75 Chapter V The Experience Machine 93 Chapter VI The Last Man Argument 129 Chapter VII The Trolley Problem 158 Chapter VIII The Violinist Analogy (...)
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  25.  84
    X-Phi and Impartiality Thought Experiments: Investigating the Veil of Ignorance.Norbert Paulo & Thomas Pölzler - 2020 - Diametros 17 (64):72-89.
    This paper discusses “impartiality thought experiments”, i.e., thought experiments that attempt to generate intuitions which are unaffected by personal characteristics such as age, gender or race. We focus on the most prominent impartiality thought experiment, the Veil of Ignorance, and show that both in its original Rawlsian version and in a more generic version, empirical investigations can be normatively relevant in two ways: First, on the assumption that the VOI is effective and robust, if subjects (...)
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  26. Hobbes's Laws of Nature in Leviathan as a Synthetic Demonstration: Thought Experiments and Knowing the Causes.Marcus P. Adams - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    The status of the laws of nature in Hobbes’s Leviathan has been a continual point of disagreement among scholars. Many agree that since Hobbes claims that civil philosophy is a science, the answer lies in an understanding of the nature of Hobbesian science more generally. In this paper, I argue that Hobbes’s view of the construction of geometrical figures sheds light upon the status of the laws of nature. In short, I claim that the laws play the same role as (...)
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  27. The Roles of One Thought Experiment in Interpreting Quantum Mechanics. Werner Heisenberg Meets Thomas Kuhn.Maarten Van Dyck - 2003 - Philosophica 72 (3):79-103.
    Recent years saw the rise of an interest in the roles and significance of thought experiments in different areas of human thinking. Heisenberg's gamma ray microscope is no doubt one of the most famous examples of a thought experiment in physics. Nevertheless, this particular thought experiment has not received much detailed attention in the philosophical literature on thought experiments up to date, maybe because of its often claimed inadequacies. In this paper, I try to (...)
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  28. How to Reconstruct a Thought Experiment.Marek Picha - 2011 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 18 (2):154-188.
    The paper is a contribution to the debate on the epistemological status of thought experiments. I deal with the epistemological uniqueness of experiments in the sense of their irreducibility to other sources of justification. In particular, I criticize an influential argument for the irreducibility of thought experiments to general arguments. First, I introduce the radical empiricist theory of eliminativism, which considers thought experiments to be rhetorically modified arguments, uninteresting from the epistemological point of (...)
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  29. Thought Experiments and the (Ir-)Relevance of Intuitions in Philosophy.Daniel Cohnitz - 2020 - In Julia Simone Hermann, Jeroen Hopster, Wouter Kalf & Michael Klenk (eds.), Philosophy in the Age of Science? Inquiries into philosophical progress, method, and societal relevance. London, UK: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 95-110.
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  30. A Minimalist Framework for Thought Experiment Analysis.Marek Picha - 2016 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 23 (4):503-524.
    Thought experiments are frequently vague and obscure hypothetical scenarios that are difficult to assess. The paper proposes a simple model of thought experiments. In the first part, I introduce two contemporary frameworks for thought experiment analysis: an experimentalist approach that relies on similarities between real and thought experiment, and a reasonist approach focusing on the answers provided by thought experimenting. Further, I articulate a minimalist approach in which thought experiment is considered strictly (...)
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  31. A Guide to Thought Experiments in Epistemology.Wesley Buckwalter - forthcoming - In Ernest Sosa, Matthias Steup, John Turri & Blake Roeber (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 3rd edition. Wiley-Blackwell.
    The purpose of this chapter is to provide a guide for conducting thought experiments in epistemology effectively. The guide raises several considerations for best practices when using this research method. Several weaknesses in the way thought experiments are conducted are also identified and several suggestions are reviewed for how to improve them. Training in these research techniques promotes more productive scholarship in epistemology, saves time and resources wasted on less efficient approaches, and reduces the risk that (...)
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  32. The Body, Thought Experiments, and Phenomenology.Yiftach J. H. Fehige & Harald Wiltsche - 2012 - In Thought Experiments in Philosophy, Science, and the Arts.
    An explorative contribution to the ongoing discussion of thought experiments. While endorsing the majority view that skepticism about thought experiments is not well justified, in what follows we attempt to show that there is a kind of “bodiliness” missing from current accounts of thought experiments. That is, we suggest a phenomenological addition to the literature. First, we contextualize our claim that the importance of the body in thought experiments has been widely underestimated. (...)
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  33. What is a Thought Experiment, Anyhow?Massimo Pigliucci - 2006 - Philosophy Now (Nov/Dec):30.
    Thought experiments are cheap and popular, but how do they work?
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  34.  29
    The Thought Experimenting Qualities of Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling.Ingrid Malm Lindberg - 2019 - Religions 10 (6).
    In this article, I examine the possible thought experimenting qualities of Soren Kierkegaard's novel Fear and Trembling and in which way it can be explanatory. Kierkegaard's preference for pseudonyms, indirect communication, Socratic interrogation, and performativity are identified as features that provide the narrative with its thought experimenting quality. It is also proposed that this literary fiction functions as a Socratic-theological thought experiment due to its influences from both philosophy and theology. In addition, I suggest three functional levels (...)
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  35. 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 (...)
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  36. Fiction and Thought Experiment - A Case Study.Daniel Dohrn - 2016 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 35 (3):185-199.
    Many philosophers are very sanguine about the cognitive contributions of fiction to science and philosophy. I focus on a case study: Ichikawa and Jarvis’s account of thought experiments in terms of everyday fictional stories. As far as the contribution of fiction is not sui generis, processing fiction often will be parasitic on cognitive capacities which may replace it; as far as it is sui generis, nothing guarantees that fiction is sufficiently well-behaved to abide by the constraints of scientific (...)
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  37.  58
    (Im)Moral Technology? Thought Experiments and the Future of `Mind Control'.Robert Sparrow - 2014 - In Akira Akayabashi (ed.), The Future of Bioethics: International Dialogues. Oxford University Press. pp. 113-119.
    In their paper, “Autonomy and the ethics of biological behaviour modification”, Savulescu, Douglas, and Persson discuss the ethics of a technology for improving moral motivation and behaviour that does not yet exist and will most likely never exist. At the heart of their argument sits the imagined case of a “moral technology” that magically prevents people from developing intentions to commit seriously immoral actions. It is not too much of a stretch, then, to characterise their paper as a thought (...)
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  38. Film as Thought Experiment: A Happy-Go-Lucky Case?Basileios Kroustallis - 2012 - Film-Philosophy 16 (1):72-84.
    Can some films be genuine thought experiments that challenge our commonsense intuitions? Certain filmic narratives and their mise-en-scène details reveal rigorous reasoning and counterintuitive outcomes on philosophical issues, such as skepticism or personal identity. But this philosophical façade may hide a mundane concern for entertainment. Unfamiliar narratives drive spectator entertainment, and every novel cinematic situation could be easily explained as part of a process that lacks motives of philosophical elucidation. -/- The paper inverses the above objection, and proposes (...)
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  39.  71
    Content Externalism Without Thought Experiments?Jonathan Brink Morgan - 2022 - Analysis 82 (1):61-67.
    A recent argument against content internalism bucks tradition: it abandons Twin-Earth-style thought experiments and instead claims that internalism is inconsistent with plausible principles relating belief contents and truth values. Call this the transparency argument. Here, it is shown that there is a structurally parallel argument against content internalism’s foil: content externalism. Preserving the transparency argument while fending off the parallel argument against externalism requires that content-determination and truth-value-determination are implausibly linked together and that eternalism about belief contents is (...)
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  40. Thought Experiments at the Edge of Conceptual Breakdown.Ilhan Inan - 2018 - In The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Literature. London, UK: pp. 581-600.
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  41. On the Identity of Thought Experiments: Thought Experiments Rethought.Alisa Bokulich & Mélanie Frappier - 2017 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. Routledge.
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  42. Thought Experiments Outside Science. [REVIEW]Daniel Cohnitz - 2013 - Metascience 22 (2):1-5.
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  43. Imagination Rather Than Observation in Econometrics: Ragnar Frisch’s Hypothetical Experiments as Thought Experiments.Catherine Herfeld - 2019 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 9 (1):35-74.
    In economics, thought experiments are frequently justified by the difficulty of conducting controlled experiments. They serve several functions, such as establishing causal facts, isolating tendencies, and allowing inferences from models to reality. In this paper, I argue that thought experiments served a further function in economics: facilitating the quantitative definition and measurement of the theoretical concept of utility, thereby bridging the gap between theory and statistical data. I support my argument by a case study, the (...)
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  44. Intuition, Thought Experiments, and the A Priori.Albert Casullo - 2012 - In Essays on A Priori Knowledge and Justification. New York, NY, USA: pp. 233-250.
    My purpose in this paper is to examine the role of intuition in conceptual analysis and to assess whether that role can be parlayed into a plausible defense of a priori knowledge. The focus of my investigation is George Bealer’s attempt to provide such a defense. I argue that Bealer’s account of intuition and its evidential status faces three problems. I go on to examine the two primary arguments that Bealer offers against empiricism: the Starting Points Argument and the Argument (...)
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  45.  27
    A Thought Experiment in Life Prolongation: The Tortoise Transformation.Timothy F. Murphy - 2013 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 12:645–649.
    The value of extending the human lifespan remains a key philosophical debate in bioethics. In building a case against the extension of the species-typical human life, Nicolas Agar considers the prospect of transforming human beings near the end of their lives into Galapagos tortoises, which would then live on decades longer. A central question at stake in this transformation is the persistence of human consciousness as a condition of the value of the transformation. Agar entertains the idea that consciousness could (...)
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  46. The Material Theory of Induction and the Epistemology of Thought Experiments.Michael T. Stuart - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 83:17-27.
    John D. Norton is responsible for a number of influential views in contemporary philosophy of science. This paper will discuss two of them. The material theory of induction claims that inductive arguments are ultimately justified by their material features, not their formal features. Thus, while a deductive argument can be valid irrespective of the content of the propositions that make up the argument, an inductive argument about, say, apples, will be justified (or not) depending on facts about apples. The argument (...)
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  47. Modal Skepticism: Philosophical Thought Experiments and Modal Epistemology.Daniel Cohnitz - 2003 - Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 10:281--296.
    One of the most basic methods of philosophy is, and has always been, the consideration of counterfactual cases and imaginary scenarios. One purpose of doing so obviously is to test our theories against such counterfactual cases. Although this method is widespread, it is far from being commonly accepted. Especially during the last two decades it has been confronted with criticism ranging from complete dismissal to denying only its critical powers to a cautious defense of the use of thought (...) as counterexamples. One of the strongest criticisms of the method of thought experimentation is "modal skepticism" as explicated and defended by Peter van Inwagen. Van Inwagen argues that the philosopher's notion of logical possibility is confused and that its epistemology is dubious. I argue that van Inwagen's skepticism is unwarranted. There is a sufficiently clear notion of logical possibility and a sufficiently straightforward way of getting to know what is logically possible. In the remainder of the paper I show how that connects with the methodology of thought experimentation in philosophy. (shrink)
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  48.  13
    Crises, thought experiments and fiction: moral intuitions between theory and practice.Monika Jovanović - 2021 - In Nenad Cekić (ed.), Етика и истина у доба кризе. Belgrade: University of Belgrade - Faculty of Philosophy. pp. 271-282.
    In this paper I examine how ethics can help us solve the morally relevant problems that arise in crisis situations by distinguishing theoretical from extra-theoretical approach to moral phenomena. I begin by asking how a crisis can be the topic of philosophical examination, subsequently narrowing down the question to ethics. From the perspective of this philosophical discipline, a crisis could be approached in two ways: by applying general theories, such as Kant’s deontology or utilitarianism, to different crisis situations, or by (...)
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  49. “Filling in”, Thought Experiments and Intuitions.Michael J. Shaffer - 2017 - Episteme 14 (2):255-262.
    Recently Timothy Williamson (2007) has argued that characterizations of the standard (i.e. intuition-based) philosophical practice of philosophical analysis are misguided because of the erroneous manner in which this practice has been understood. In doing so he implies that experimental critiques of the reliability of intuition are based on this misunderstanding of philosophical methodology and so have little or no bearing on actual philosophical practice or results. His main point is that the orthodox understanding of philosophical methodology is incorrect in that (...)
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  50. Counterfactual Thinking and Thought Experiments.Josh Turkewitz - 2014 - Florida Philosophical Review 14 (1):85-96.
    As part of Timothy Williamson’s inquiry into how we gain knowledge from thought experiments he submits various ways of representing the argument underlying Gettier cases in modal and counterfactual terms. But all of these ways run afoul of the problem of deviance - that there are cases that might satisfy the descriptions given by a Gettier text but still fail to be counterexamples to the justified true belief model of knowledge). Problematically, this might mean that either it is (...)
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