David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Foundations of Science 10 (1):47-66 (2005)
In some of the papers in which she develops and defends the mental modelview of thought experiments in physics, Nersessian expresses the belief that her account has implications for thought experiments in other domains as well. In this paper, I argue, firstly, that counterfactual reasoning has a legitimate place in historical inquiry, and secondly, that the mental model view can account for such "alternative histories". I proceed as follows. Firstly, I review the main accounts of thought experiments in physics and point at some explanatory advantages of the mental model view. Subsequently, I argue that historians cannot dispense with counterfactual reasoning altogether and qualify a number of principled objections against the explicit use of alternative histories for theoretical purposes. Finally, I show that the mental model view can account for such thought experiments in history.
|Keywords||counterfactual analysis counterfactual reasoning historiography history mental models modal reasoning thought experiments|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem (1954). The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Jon Elster (1983). Explaining Technical Change: A Case Study in the Philosophy of Science. Universitetsforlaget.
L. Magnani, N. J. Nersessian & P. Thagard (eds.) (1999). Model-Based Reasoning in Scientific Discovery. Kluwer/Plenum.
James Robert Brown (1991). The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences. Routledge.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Elke Brendel (2004). Intuition Pumps and the Proper Use of Thought Experiments. Dialectica 58 (1):89–108.
Ian Hacking (1992). Do Thought Experiments Have a Life of Their Own? Comments on James Brown, Nancy Nersessian and David Gooding. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:302 - 308.
Nancy J. Nersessian (2007). Thought Experimenting as Mental Modeling. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):125-161.
Daniel Cohnitz (2006). Poor Thought Experiments? A Comment on Peijnenburg and Atkinson. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (2):373 - 392.
John D. Norton (2004). Why Thought Experiments Do Not Transcend Empiricism. In Christopher Hitchcock (ed.), Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Science. Blackwell 44-66.
James Robert Brown (2007). Thought Experiments in Science, Philosophy, and Mathematics. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):3-27.
R. J. Snooks (2006). Another Scientific Practice Separating Chemistry From Physics: Thought Experiments. [REVIEW] Foundations of Chemistry 8 (3):255-270.
Nenad Miščević (2007). Modelling Intuitions and Thought Experiments. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):181-214.
Nebojsa Kujundzic (1998). The Role of Variation in Thought Experiments. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (3):239 – 243.
John Zeimbekis (2011). Thought Experiments and Mental Simulations. In Katerina Ierodiakonou & Sophie Roux (eds.), Thought Experiments in Methodological and Historical Contexts. Brill
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads29 ( #130,028 of 1,789,901 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #197,702 of 1,789,901 )
How can I increase my downloads?