Axiomathes 26 (4):451-466 (2016)

Authors
Michael T. Stuart
National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University
Abstract
John D. Norton defends an empiricist epistemology of thought experiments, the central thesis of which is that thought experiments are nothing more than arguments. Philosophers have attempted to provide counterexamples to this claim, but they haven’t convinced Norton. I will point out a more fundamental reason for reformulation that criticizes Norton’s claim that a thought experiment is a good one when its underlying logical form possesses certain desirable properties. I argue that by Norton’s empiricist standards, no thought experiment is ever justified in any deep sense due to the properties of its logical form. Instead, empiricists should consider again the merits of evaluating thought experiments more like laboratory experiments, and less like arguments.
Keywords Empiricism  Experimentalism  John D. Norton  Material theory of induction  Thought experiments
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DOI 10.1007/s10516-016-9306-2
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References found in this work BETA

The Logic of Scientific Discovery.K. Popper - 1959 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10 (37):55-57.
Explaining Science: A Cognitive Approach.Jeffrey S. Poland - 1988 - Philosophical Review 100 (4):653-656.
Three Kinds of Idealization.Michael Weisberg - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (12):639-659.
Thought Experiments.Roy A. Sorensen - 1992 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Thought Experiments.Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James R. Brown - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 25 (1):135-142.
Thought Experiments: State of the Art.Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James R. Brown - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London, UK: Routledge. pp. 1-28.

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Similar books and articles

Intuitions in Science: Thought Experiments as Argument Pumps.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2014 - In Anthony R. Booth & Darrell P. Rowbottom (eds.), Intuitions. Oxford University Press. pp. 119-134.
Critical Notice of Roy Sorensen Thought Experiments.James Robert Brown - 1995 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 25 (1):135-142.
On Thought Experiments: Is There More to the Argument?John D. Norton - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1139-1151.
Why Thought Experiments Are Not Arguments.Michael A. Bishop - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (4):534-541.

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