Why Empiricism Won't Work

Thought experiments provide us with scientific understanding and theoretical advances which are sometimes quite significant, yet they do this without new empirical input, and possibly without any empirical input at all. How is this possible? The challenge to empiricism is to give an account which is compatible with the traditional empiricist principle that all knowledge is based on sensory experience. Thought experiments present an enormous challenge to empiricist views of knowledge; so much so that some of us have (cheerfully) thrown in the towel and embraced good old fashioned platonism. I'll try to explain why one brand of empiricism, namely John Norton's argument view of thought experiments, won't <span class='Hi'>work</span>.
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DOI 10.2307/192841
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J. W. McAllister (1996). The Evidential Significance of Thought Experiment in Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 27 (2):233-250.
Marco Buzzoni (2007). Zum Verhältnis Zwischen Experiment Und Gedankenexperiment in den Naturwissenschaften. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (2):219 - 237.

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