Zygon 47 (2):256-288 (2012)
AbstractAbstract Thought experimentation is part of accepted scientific practice, and this makes it surprising that philosophers of science did not seriously engage with it for a very long time. The situation changed in the 1990s, resulting in a highly intriguing debate over thought experiments. Initially, the discussion focused mostly on thought experiments in physics, philosophy, and mathematics. Other disciplines have since become the subject of interest. Yet, nothing substantial has been said about the role of thought experiments in nonphilosophical theology. This paper discusses the role of thought experiments in Christian theology in comparison to their role in quantum physics, as mentioned by John Polkinghorne in Quantum Physics and Theology. We first look briefly at the history of the inquiry into thought experiments and then at Polkinghorne's remarks about the role of thought experimentation in quantum physics and Christian eschatology. To determine the actual importance of thought experiments in Christian theology a number of new examples are introduced in a third step. In the light of these examples, in a fourth step, we address the question of what it is that explains the cognitive efficacy of thought experiments in quantum physics and Christian theology
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Citations of this work
The multifaceted role of imagination in science and religion. A critical examination of its epistemic, creative and meaning-making functions.Ingrid Malm Lindberg - 2021 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
The Thought Experimenting Qualities of Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling.Ingrid Malm Lindberg - 2019 - Religions 10 (6).
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Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious.Timothy D. Wilson - 2002 - Harvard University Press.
Rethinking Intuition: The Psychology of Intuition and its Role in Philosophical Inquiry.Michael Raymond DePaul & William M. Ramsey (eds.) - 1998 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.