The main concern of this paper is to show that understanding mental variation may prove to be relevant to inquiry into thought experiments. First, I examine why Ernst Mach considered the ability to vary the contents of one's thoughts the principal requirement for thought experimentation. Second, I illustrate the wide applicability of mental variation in thought experiments. Third, I suggest, following Kathleen Wilkes, that variation is frequently employed in “realistic” thought experiments.
We argue that no sharp boundary can be drawn between the ``authentic'' human body and its instruments. In contrast to some other theorists of the continental canon--notably Heidegger and the Frankfurt school--Sartre and Merleau-Ponty can be read as asserting that the body (transitively) ``lives'' its instruments, weaving with them an intricate web of habitual actions and experiences. For Merleau-Ponty especially, the human body and its instruments are capable of complementing, supplementing, and melting into one another.
The paper examines the reasons for which Camap's and Fodor's theory are considered inadequate by Hilary Putnam in his book Representation and Reality, Putnam deconstmcts his earlier functionalist position and finds himself able to say many things about what language is not and very few about what it is, and, metaphorically speaking, puts human society in an Augustinian position regarding language. As well, this paper investigates whether Putnam's "internal realism" encourages the possible appearence of a new breed of analytic philosophers (...) who will be more sensitive to what was once called "continental metaphysics" and yet who still maintain the conceptual and methodological rigidness of the "old" analytic school. (shrink)