David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 95 (1):196-208 (1993)
The arts and the sciences perform many of the same cognitive functions, both serving to advance understanding. This paper explores some of the ways exemplification operates in the two fields. Both scientific experiments and works of art highlight, underscore, display, or convey some of their own features. They thereby focus attention on them, and make them available for examination and projection. Thus, the Michelson-Morley experiment exemplifies the constancy of the speed of light. Jackson Pollock'sNumber One exemplifies the viscosity of paint. Despite their similarities, science and art might seem to differ in their attitude toward facts. Science is said to adhere to facts; art, to be indifferent to them. Such, I urge, is not the case. Science, like art, often scorns fact to advance understanding through fiction. Thought experiments, I contend, are scientific fictions; literary and pictorial fictions, aesthetic thought experiments.
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Michael T. Stuart (2016). Taming Theory with Thought Experiments: Understanding and Scientific Progress. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 58:24-33.
Nicola Mößner (2015). Visual Information and Scientific Understanding. Axiomathes 25 (2):167-179.
Dirk Koppelberg (1993). Should We Replace Knowledge by Understanding? — A Comment on Elgin and Goodman's Reconception of Epistemology. Synthese 95 (1):119 - 128.
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