Thought Experiments

Oxford University Press (1992)
Abstract
Sorensen presents a general theory of thought experiments: what they are, how they work, what are their virtues and vices. On Sorensen's view, philosophy differs from science in degree, but not in kind. For this reason, he claims, it is possible to understand philosophical thought experiments by concentrating on their resemblance to scientific relatives. Lessons learned about scientific experimentation carry over to thought experiment, and vice versa. Sorensen also assesses the hazards and pseudo-hazards of thought experiments. Although he grants that there are interesting ways in which the method leads us astray, he attacks most scepticism about thought experiments as arbitrary. They should be used, he says, as they generally are used--as part of a diversified portfolio of techniques. All of these devices are individually susceptible to abuse, fallacy, and error. Collectively, however, they provide a network of cross-checks that make for impressive reliability.
Keywords Thought experiments  Philosophy and science
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Call number B105.T54.S67 1992
ISBN(s) 019512913X   0585160740   9780195129137  
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Gordon Prescott Barnes (2007). Necessity and Apriority. Philosophical Studies 132 (3):495 - 523.

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