On the relation between experiment and thought experiment in the natural sciences. To understand the reciprocal autonomy and complementarity of thought and real experiment, it is necessary to distinguish between a ‘positive’ (empirical or formal) and a transcendental perspective. Empirically and formally, real and thought experiments are indistinguishable. However, from a reflexive-transcendental viewpoint thought experiment is at the same time irreducible and complementary to real experiment. This is due to the fact that the hypothetical-anticipatory moment is in principle irreducible to physical reality—even though it refers to physical reality and is bound with the empirical use of our understanding. The presence of counterfactuals is the condition of the possibility for thought experiments to become in principle real ones, by means of a series of technical realisations that gradually approximate the idealisations that they contain.
Keywords Experiment  Thought experiment  Technical operationalism  New experimentalism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10838-007-9032-y
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 57,041
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

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford University Press.

View all 63 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Thought Experiments.Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James R. Brown - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 25 (1):135-142.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Soziale Naturwissenschaft. Zwischen Sozialwissenschaften und Naturwissenschaften.Michael Deneke & Engelbert Schramm - 1998 - In Gregor Schiemann, Michael Hauskeller & Christoph Rehmann-Sutter (eds.), Naturerkenntnis Und Natursein. Suhrkamp. pp. 258--272.
Locke on Consciousness and Reflection.Mark A. Kulstad - 1984 - Studia Leibnitiana 16:143.
Hauptströmungen im Gespräch zwischen Theologie und Naturwissenschaften im angelsächsischen Sprachraum.Hans Schwarz - 1974 - Neue Zeitschrift für Systematicsche Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 16 (3):230-256.
Zum Verhältnis zwischen Moral und Religion.Michael Wittmann - 1925 - Philosophisches Jahrbuch 38:97-118.


Added to PP index

Total views
73 ( #136,656 of 2,410,884 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #538,938 of 2,410,884 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes