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Michael T. Stuart
London School of Economics
  1.  52
    The Content-Dependence of Imaginative Resistance.Hanna Kim, Markus Kneer & Michael T. Stuart - forthcoming - In Florian Cova & Sébastien Réhault (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Aesthetics. Bloomsbury.
    An observation of Hume’s has received a lot of attention over the last decade and a half: Although we can standardly imagine the most implausible scenarios, we encounter resistance when imagining propositions at odds with established moral (or perhaps more generally evaluative) convictions. The literature is ripe with ‘solutions’ to this so-called ‘Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance’. Few, however, question the plausibility of the empirical assumption at the heart of the puzzle. In this paper, we explore empirically whether the difficulty we (...)
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  2.  41
    The Role of Imagination in Social Scientific Discovery: Why Machine Discoverers Will Need Imagination Algorithms.Michael T. Stuart - forthcoming - In Mark Addis, Fernand Gobet & Peter Sozou (eds.), Scientific Discovery in the Social Sciences. Springer.
    When philosophers discuss the possibility of machines making scientific discoveries, they typically focus on discoveries in physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics. Observing the rapid increase of computer-use in science, however, it becomes natural to ask whether there are any scientific domains out of reach for machine discovery. For example, could machines also make discoveries in qualitative social science? Is there something about humans that makes us uniquely suited to studying humans? Is there something about machines that would bar them from (...)
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  3. Philosophical Conceptual Analysis as an Experimental Method.Michael T. Stuart - 2015 - In Thomas Gamerschlag, Doris Gerland, Rainer Osswald & Wiebke Petersen (eds.), Meaning, Frames, and Conceptual Representation. Düsseldorf University Press. pp. 267-292.
    Philosophical conceptual analysis is an experimental method. Focusing on this helps to justify it from the skepticism of experimental philosophers who follow Weinberg, Nichols & Stich. To explore the experimental aspect of philosophical conceptual analysis, I consider a simpler instance of the same activity: everyday linguistic interpretation. I argue that this, too, is experimental in nature. And in both conceptual analysis and linguistic interpretation, the intuitions considered problematic by experimental philosophers are necessary but epistemically irrelevant. They are like variables introduced (...)
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  4.  50
    How Thought Experiments Increase Understanding.Michael T. Stuart - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London: Routledge. pp. 526-544.
    We might think that thought experiments are at their most powerful or most interesting when they produce new knowledge. This would be a mistake; thought experiments that seek understanding are just as powerful and interesting, and perhaps even more so. A growing number of epistemologists are emphasizing the importance of understanding for epistemology, arguing that it should supplant knowledge as the central notion. In this chapter, I bring the literature on understanding in epistemology to bear on explicating the different ways (...)
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  5.  12
    Imagination: A Sine Qua Non of Science.Michael T. Stuart - 2017 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy (49):9-32.
    What role does the imagination play in scientific progress? After examining several studies in cognitive science, I argue that one thing the imagination does is help to increase scientific understanding, which is itself indispensable for scientific progress. Then, I sketch a transcendental justification of the role of imagination in this process.
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  6.  33
    Cognitive Science and Thought Experiments: A Refutation of Paul Thagard's Skepticism.Michael T. Stuart - 2014 - Perspectives on Science 22 (2):264-287.
    Paul Thagard has recently argued that thought experiments are dangerous and misleading when we try to use them as evidence for claims. This paper refutes his skepticism. Building on Thagard’s own work in cognitive science, I suggest that Thagard has much that is positive to say about how thought experiments work. My last section presents some new directions for research on the intersection between thought experiments and cognitive science.
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  7. REVIEW: James R. Brown, Laboratory of the Mind. [REVIEW]Michael T. Stuart - 2012 - Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):237-241.
    Originally published in 1991, The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences, is the first monograph to identify and address some of the many interesting questions that pertain to thought experiments. While the putative aim of the book is to explore the nature of thought experimental evidence, it has another important purpose which concerns the crucial role thought experiments play in Brown’s Platonic master argument.In that argument, Brown argues against naturalism and empiricism (Brown 2012), for mathematical Platonism (...)
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  8.  26
    On the Origins of the Philosophy of Thought Experiments: The Forerun.Yiftach Fehige & Michael T. Stuart - 2014 - Perspectives on Science 22 (2):179-220.
    Philosophical debate about the nature and function of thought experiments would be impoverished without good historical sources. And while valuable work is being done on the history of thought experiments, a comprehensive discussion of the history of philosophical investigation into thought experiments is still absent in the literature (but see Kühne 2005; Moue et al. 2006). In what follows we take the first steps towards providing a more complete picture of the diverse attempts to shed light on thought experiments.The term (...)
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  9.  11
    Thought Experiments State of the Art.Michael T. Stuart - 2017 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. Oxford, U.K.: Routledge.
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  10.  18
    Norton and the Logic of Thought Experiments.Michael T. Stuart - 2016 - Axiomathes 26 (4):451-466.
    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 (...)
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  11.  21
    Taming Theory with Thought Experiments: Understanding and Scientific Progress.Michael T. Stuart - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 58:24-33.
    I claim that one way thought experiments contribute to scientific progress is by increasing scientific understanding. Understanding does not have a currently accepted characterization in the philosophical literature, but I argue that we already have ways to test for it. For instance, current pedagogical practice often requires that students demonstrate being in either or both of the following two states: 1) Having grasped the meaning of some relevant theory, concept, law or model, 2) Being able to apply that theory, concept, (...)
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  12.  39
    Katerina Ierodiakonou and Sophie Roux, Eds. Thought Experiments in Methodological and Historical Contexts. Leiden: Brill, 2011. Pp. Vii+233. €99.00. [REVIEW]James Robert Brown & Michael T. Stuart - 2013 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 3 (1):154-157.
  13.  24
    Introduction to Special Issue of Perspectives on Science.Yiftach Fehige & Michael T. Stuart - 2014 - Perspectives on Science 22 (2):167-178.
    This is an introduction to a special issue of Perspectives on Science, the outcome of a workshop entitled "Thought Experiments in Science: Four Blind Spots," held at the University of Toronto, March 23rd, 2012. The recent revival in philosophical study of thought experiments has been limited to fields like epistemology, science studies, and metaphilosophy. With this issue we hope to facilitate a discussion about how some other disciplinary perspectives might bear on the subject; specifically, the history of philosophy, literary studies, (...)
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  14.  65
    The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments.Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.) - 2018 - London: Routledge.
    Thought experiments are a means of imaginative reasoning that lie at the heart of philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to the modern era, and they also play central roles in a range of fields, from physics to politics. The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments is an invaluable guide and reference source to this multifaceted subject. Comprising over 30 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Companion covers the following important areas: -/- · the history of thought experiments, from antiquity to (...)
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  15.  16
    The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments.Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.) - 2018 - London: Routledge.
    Thought experiments are a means of imaginative reasoning that lie at the heart of philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to the modern era, and they also play central roles in a range of fields, from physics to politics. The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments is an invaluable guide and reference source to this multifaceted subject. Comprising over 30 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Companion covers the following important areas: · the history of thought experiments, from antiquity to the (...)
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