David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):47-61 (2007)
Recent debates about thought experiments have focused on a perceived epistemological problem: how do thought experiments manage to provide knowledge when they yield no new empirical data? A bold answer to this question is provided by James Robert Brown’s platonisrn, according to which a certain class of thought experiments allow a sort of intellectual perception of laws of nature, understood as relations between universals. I suggest that there are three main problems with platonism. First, it is restricted to a very small class of thought experiments; hence, it largely fails to address the general epistemological problem. Second, it is not quite clear what it is supposed to explain. Third, its explanatory value in any case seems dubious, since the mechanisms it postulates (i) appear to raise issues more ditficult than what they would explain, and (ii) seem to obviate the very need for conducting thought experiments. I also argue that it fails to give an accurate account of Brown’s flagship example, Galileo’s thought experiment on falling bodies. In conclusion, I suggest that although platonism about thought experiments is an exciting thesis, it is at present unconvincing
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Michael T. Stuart (2012). REVIEW: James R. Brown, Laboratory of the Mind. [REVIEW] Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):237-241.
Boris Grozdanoff (2007). Reconstruction, Justification and Incompatibility in Norton's Account of Thought Experiments. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):69-79.
Ana Butković (2007). What is the Function of Thought Experiments. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):63-67.
Richard Arthur (1999). On Thought Experiments as a Priori Science. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (3):215 – 229.
Yiftach J. H. Fehige & Harald Wiltsche (2012). The Body, Thought Experiments, and Phenomenology. In Thought Experiments in Philosophy, Science, and the Arts.
James Robert Brown (1992). Why Empiricism Won't Work. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:271 - 279.
Sophie Roux (2011). Introduction : The Emergence of the Notion of Thought Experiments. In Katerina Ierodiakonou & Sophie Roux (eds.), Thought Experiments in Methodological and Historical Contexts. Brill.
Elke Brendel (2004). Intuition Pumps and the Proper Use of Thought Experiments. Dialectica 58 (1):89–108.
Rafal Urbaniak (2012). “Platonic” Thought Experiments: How on Earth? Synthese 187 (2):731-752.
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.
Jean-Yves Goffi & Sophie Roux (2011). On the Very Idea of a Thought Experiment. In Katerina Ierodiakonou & Sophie Roux (eds.), Thought Experiments in Methodological and Historical Contexts. Brill.
David Atkinson (2003). Experiments and Thought Experiments in Natural Science. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 232:209-226.
John Zeimbekis (2011). Thought Experiments and Mental Simulations. In Katerina Ierodiakonou & Sophie Roux (eds.), Thought Experiments in Methodological and Historical Contexts. Brill.
Martin Bunzl (1996). The Logic of Thought Experiments. Synthese 106 (2):227 - 240.
Alisa Bokulich (2001). Rethinking Thought Experiments. Perspectives on Science 9 (3):285-307.
Added to index2011-01-09
Total downloads26 ( #92,624 of 1,696,171 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #137,977 of 1,696,171 )
How can I increase my downloads?