Synthese 198 (4):1-24 (2019)

Authors
Harald A. Wiltsche
Linkoping University
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to show that scientific thought experiments and works of science fiction are highly suitable tools for facilitating and increasing understanding of science. After comparing one of Einstein’s most famous thought experiments with the science fiction novel “The Forever War”, I shall argue that both proceed similarly in making some of the more outlandish consequences of special relativity theory intelligible. However, as I will also point out, understanding in thought experiments and understanding in science fiction differ in one important respect: While the former aim at what I shall call “physical understanding”, science fiction novels typically have “existential understanding” as their target.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02306-6
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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Doing Without Concepts.Edouard Machery - 2009 - Oxford University Press.

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