Physical scale effects and philosophical thought experiments

Metaphilosophy 39 (1):89–104 (2008)
Abstract
The scales across which physical properties exist are vast and subtle in their effects on particular systems placed locally on such scales. For example, human experiential access is restricted only to partial segments of the mass density, size, and temperature scales of the universe. I argue that philosophers must learn to appreciate better the effects of physical scales. Specifically, thought experiments in philosophy should be more sensitive to physical scale effects, because the conclusion of a thought experiment may be undermined by unintentionally ignored scale effects, and the changes required to obtain the foreground state of affairs in a thought experiment might require unacknowledged scale-spanning changes to the contextual background. I discuss four philosophical thought experiments: Putnam's Twin Earth and Brain in a Vat, Searle's Chinese Room, and Chalmers's Zombies Without Qualia. I close by briefly defending the greater interest and importance of physical possibility over logical possibility.
Keywords thought experiments  physical possibility  logical possibility  physical scale effects  philosophical methodology
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,768
External links
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
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

36 ( #47,100 of 1,098,996 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #16,641 of 1,098,996 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.