The A Priori Thesis

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):47-61 (2007)
Recent debates about thought experiments have focused on a perceived epistemological problem: how do thought experiments manage to provide knowledge when they yield no new empirical data? A bold answer to this question is provided by James Robert Brown’s platonisrn, according to which a certain class of thought experiments allow a sort of intellectual perception of laws of nature, understood as relations between universals. I suggest that there are three main problems with platonism. First, it is restricted to a very small class of thought experiments; hence, it largely fails to address the general epistemological problem. Second, it is not quite clear what it is supposed to explain. Third, its explanatory value in any case seems dubious, since the mechanisms it postulates (i) appear to raise issues more ditficult than what they would explain, and (ii) seem to obviate the very need for conducting thought experiments. I also argue that it fails to give an accurate account of Brown’s flagship example, Galileo’s thought experiment on falling bodies. In conclusion, I suggest that although platonism about thought experiments is an exciting thesis, it is at present unconvincing
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 1333-1108
DOI croatjphil20077130
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,308
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
What is the Function of Thought Experiments.Ana Butković - 2007 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):63-67.
On Thought Experiments as a Priori Science.Richard Arthur - 1999 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (3):215 – 229.
Why Empiricism Won't Work.James Robert Brown - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:271-279.
Experiments and Thought Experiments in Natural Science.David Atkinson - 2003 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 232:209-226.
The Logic of Thought Experiments.Martin Bunzl - 1996 - Synthese 106 (2):227 - 240.
Rethinking Thought Experiments.Alisa Bokulich - 2001 - Perspectives on Science 9 (3):285-307.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
42 ( #125,646 of 2,180,176 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #303,869 of 2,180,176 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums