Perspectives on Science 9 (3):285-307 (2001)

Authors
Alisa Bokulich
Boston University
Abstract
: An examination of two thought experiments in contemporary physics reveals that the same thought experiment can be reanalyzed from the perspective of different and incompatible theories. This fact undermines those accounts of thought experiments that claim their justificatory power comes from their ability to reveal the laws of nature. While thought experiments do play a genuine evaluative role in science, they do so by testing the nonempirical virtues of a theory, such as consistency and explanatory power. I conclude that, while their interpretation presupposes a whole set of background theories and putative laws, thought experiments nonetheless can evolve and be retooled for different theories and ends
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DOI 10.1162/10636140160176152
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References found in this work BETA

What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.
Einstein on Locality and Separability.Don Howard - 1985 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):171.

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Citations of this work BETA

Thought Experiments.Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James R. Brown - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 25 (1):135-142.
Fiction as Thought Experiment.Catherine Z. Elgin - 2014 - Perspectives on Science 22 (2):221-241.
A Model for Thought Experiments.Sören Häggqvist - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (1):pp. 55-76.
Thought Experiments: State of the Art.Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James R. Brown - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London, UK: Routledge. pp. 1-28.

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