Thought experiments and personal identity

Philosophical Studies 98 (1):51-66 (2000)
Thought experiments are profitably compared to compasses. A compass is a simple but useful device for determining direction. Nevertheless, it systematically errs in the presence of magnets becomes unreliable near the North Pole, in mine shafts, when vibrated, in the presence of metal ...experts will wish to use the compass as one element in a wider portfolio of navigational techniques. Analogously, thought experiments are simple but useful devices for determining the status of propositions. Sadly, they systematically err under certain conditions and so are best used with sensitivity to their foibles and limited scope (Sorensen, 1992, pp. 288–289)
Keywords Metaphysics  Personal Identity  Thought Experiment  Wilkes, K
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