Thought experiments rethought—and reperceived

Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1152-1163 (2004)
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Abstract

Contemplating imaginary scenarios that evoke certain sorts of quasi‐sensory intuitions may bring us to new beliefs about contingent features of the natural world. These beliefs may be produced quasi‐observationally; the presence of a mental image may play a crucial cognitive role in the formation of the belief in question. And this albeit fallible quasi‐observational belief‐forming mechanism may, in certain contexts, be sufficiently reliable to count as a source of justification. This sheds light on the central puzzle surrounding scientific thought experiment, which is how contemplation of an imaginary scenario can lead to new knowledge about contingent features of the natural world.

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Tamar Gendler
Yale University

Citations of this work

Imagination.Shen-yi Liao & Tamar Gendler - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Imagination.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2011 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University.
Imagination Through Knowledge.Shannon Spaulding - 2016 - In Amy Kind & Peter Kung (eds.), Knowledge Through Imagination. Oxford University Press. pp. 207-226.

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References found in this work

On Thought Experiments: Is There More to the Argument?John D. Norton - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1139-1151.
The Science of Mechanics.E. B. T., E. Mach & T. J. McCormack - 1894 - Philosophical Review 3 (1):123.
On Thought Experiments: Is There More to the Argument?John D. Norton - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1139-1151.
Thought Experiments in Science and Philosophy.James Cargile - 1994 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (2):479-482.
Thought Experiments and the Belief in Phenomena.James W. McAllister - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1164-1175.

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