Intuition pumps and the proper use of thought experiments

Dialectica 58 (1):89–108 (2004)

Authors
Elke Brendel
Universität Bonn
Abstract
I begin with an explication of "thought experiment". I then clarify the role that intuitions play in thought experiments by addressing two important issues: (1) the informativeness of thought experiments and (2) the legitimacy of the method of thought experiments in philosophy and the natural sciences. I defend a naturalistic account of intuitions that provides a plausible explanation of the informativeness of thought experiments, which, in turn, allows thought experiments to be reconstructed as arguments. I also specify criteria for distinguishing bad "intuition pumps" from legitimate thought experiments. These criteria help us to avoid being seduced by the dangerous suggestive power of misleading intuitions.
Keywords Epistemology, Experiment, Intuitionism, Thought
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DOI 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2004.tb00293.x
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References found in this work BETA

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?Edmund Gettier - 1963 - Analysis 23 (6):121-123.
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Citations of this work BETA

Does the Method of Cases Rest on a Mistake?Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (2):183-197.
The Missing-Desires Objection to Hybrid Theories of Well-Being.William Lauinger - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (2):270-295.
Phenomenology and Thought Experiments. Thought Experiments as Anticipation Pumps.Harald A. Wiltsche - 2018 - In James Robert Brown, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & Michael T. Stuart (eds.), Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. New York, NY, USA:
A Moderate Defence of the Use of Thought Experiments in Applied Ethics.Adrian Walsh - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (4):467-481.

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