Galileo and the indispensability of scientific thought experiment

Abstract

By carefully examining one of the most famous thought experiments in the history of science—that by which Galileo is said to have refuted the Aristotelian theory that heavier bodies fall faster than lighter ones—I attempt to show that thought experiments play a distinctive role in scientific inquiry. Reasoning about particular entities within the context of an imaginary scenario can lead to rationally justified concluusions that—given the same initial information—would not be rationally justifiable on the basis of a straightforward argument.

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2009-01-28

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Tamar Gendler
Yale University

References found in this work

Models and Analogies in Science.Mary B. Hesse - 1963 - University of Notre Dame Press.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery.K. Popper - 1959 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10 (37):55-57.
Models and Analogies in Science.Mary B. Hesse - 1966 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 3 (3):190-191.

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Citations of this work

The Role of Explanation in Understanding.Kareem Khalifa - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):161-187.
The Productive Anarchy of Scientific Imagination.Michael T. Stuart - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):968-978.
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.
How Can Computer Simulations Produce New Knowledge?Claus Beisbart - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):395-434.

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