Thought experiments play an important cognitive role in many fields of inquiry, especially in physics and philosophy. Do they also matter in revealed theology? In addressing this question, I will argue first why it is important to do so, then elaborate on the characteristic features of such thought experiments in revealed theology, and finally discuss two instances of thought experimenting in Augustine.
In this paper I focus on a major aspect of the later Wittgenstein’s investigation of thinking – his discussion of the idea of thinking as a process or an activity. I shall show that Wittgenstein’s remarks, apart from some concerning the methodology and conception of philosophy, are grammatical remarks, meaning that they describe the use of the word “thinking” and can be agreed to by every competent speaker. I thus show that Wittgenstein’s investigation of thinking is a grammatical one, and (...) hence that there is no inconsistency between his conception of philosophy and his philosophical practice. In the process of doing so, I shall also review previous studies on this topic and point out their deficiencies. (shrink)
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 trolley problem and quantum non-locality; -/- · thought experiments in the humanities, arts, and sciences, including ethics, physics, theology, biology, mathematics, economics, and politics; -/- · theories about the nature of thought experiments; -/- · new discussions concerning the impact of experimental philosophy, cross-cultural comparison studies, metaphilosophy, computer simulations, idealization, dialectics, cognitive science, the artistic nature of thought experiments, and metaphysical issues. -/- This broad ranging Companion goes backwards through history and sideways across disciplines. It also engages with philosophical perspectives from empiricism, rationalism, naturalism, skepticism, pluralism, contextualism, and neo-Kantianism to phenomenology. This volume will be valuable for anyone studying the methods of philosophy or any discipline that employs thought experiments, as well as anyone interested in the power and limits of the mind. (shrink)
Building on a previously published contextualization of Marco Buzzoni’s Neo- Kantian account of scientific thought-experiments, this paper examines the explanatory power of this account. It is argued that Buzzoni’s account suffers from a number of shortcomings. Einstein’s clock-in-the-box thought experiment facilitates the demonstration of these deficits. In the light of both the identified inadequacies of Buzzoni’s account and the long-standing history of Kantian approaches to thought experiments, this paper finally sketches an alternative Neo-Kantian account. This alternative utilizes Michael Friedman’s reading (...) of Kant’s a priori within a Kuhnian account of thought experiments along the lines of conceptual constructivism as anticipated by Georg Lichtenberg and further developed recently by Tamar Gendler. (shrink)
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 (...) “thought experiment” made its first appearance about 200 years ago in 1811. The most prolific period in the history of the philosophical investigation into thought experiments is the current .. (shrink)
This paper replies to objections that have been raised against my operational-Kantian account of thought experiments by Fehige 2012 and 2013. Fehige also sketches an alternative Neo-Kantian account that utilizes Michael Friedman’s concept of a contingent and changeable a priori. To this I shall reply, first, that Fehige’s objections not only neglect some fundamental points I had made as regards the realizability of TEs, but also underestimate the principle of empiricism, which was rightly defended by Kant. Secondly, (...) in opposition to what he states, my account does not differ in a very essential way from the empiricist solutions either as regards the power of TEs to predict something new about empirical reality, or as regards the criteria for telling apart good from bad TEs. Thirdly, in the light of the Kantian definition of the a priori, Friedman’s corresponding notion is contrary both to the spirit and to the letter of Kant’s philosophy; moreover, from a theoretical point of view, a material a priori is theoretically untenable since, counter to Friedman’s own intentions, it leads to relativism. -/- . (shrink)
Marco Buzzoni has presented a Kantian account of thought experiments in science as a serious rival to the current empiricist and Platonic accounts. This paper takes the first steps of a comprehensive assessment of this account in order to further the more general discussion of the feasibility of a Kantian theory of scientific thought experiments. Such a discussion is overdue. To this effect the broader question is addressed as to what motivates a Kantian approach. Buzzoni's account and the assessment developed (...) in this paper are warranted by the fact that the history of philosophical inquiry into thought experiments is deeply interwoven with Kant's philosophy. This history will be depicted here for the first time in more comprehensive terms to contextualize Buzzoni's account in historical and systematic perspective. (shrink)
An explorative contribution to the ongoing discussion of thought experiments. While endorsing the majority view that skepticism about thought experiments is not well justified, in what follows we attempt to show that there is a kind of “bodiliness” missing from current accounts of thought experiments. That is, we suggest a phenomenological addition to the literature. First, we contextualize our claim that the importance of the body in thought experiments has been widely underestimated. Then we discuss David Gooding's work, which contains (...) the only explicit recognition of the importance of the body to understanding thought experiments. Finally, we introduce a phenomenological perspective of the body, which will give us the opportunity to sketch the power and promise of a phenomenological approach to thought experiments. (shrink)
The ontological argument is one of the most intriguing lines of reasoning in Western thought. Leaving behind debates over the proper relation between science and religion, it makes a simple move from conceptual analysis to existence in order to prove the existence of god. The ontological argument will be reviewed against the background of the contemporary debate on thought experiments. Assuming that the ontological argument fails as a philosophical proof, I will argue that its move from concept to existence might (...) best be understood as a thought experiment of revealed theology (a theology based on revelation – unlike philosophical theology/natural theology). Viewed from this perspective it makes sense that Anselm of Canterbury offered his versions of the ontological argument in the form of a prayer, which, presupposing the existence of god, seems to run counter to a proof of god's existence. (shrink)
Abstract Thought experimentation is part of accepted scientific practice, and this makes it surprising that philosophers of science did not seriously engage with it for a very long time. The situation changed in the 1990s, resulting in a highly intriguing debate over thought experiments. Initially, the discussion focused mostly on thought experiments in physics, philosophy, and mathematics. Other disciplines have since become the subject of interest. Yet, nothing substantial has been said about the role of thought experiments in nonphilosophical theology. (...) This paper discusses the role of thought experiments in Christian theology in comparison to their role in quantum physics, as mentioned by John Polkinghorne in Quantum Physics and Theology. We first look briefly at the history of the inquiry into thought experiments and then at Polkinghorne's remarks about the role of thought experimentation in quantum physics and Christian eschatology. To determine the actual importance of thought experiments in Christian theology a number of new examples are introduced in a third step. In the light of these examples, in a fourth step, we address the question of what it is that explains the cognitive efficacy of thought experiments in quantum physics and Christian theology. (shrink)
El 30 de julio de 1916 se eligieron los representantes para la Convención encargada de elaborar la segunda constitución uruguaya que fijó las reglas de la naciente democracia. En esta elección se utilizaron por primera vez el voto secreto y una versión inédita de representación proporcional. Para explicar por qué se usaron esas reglas y no otras, se utiliza la teoría de los órdenes sociales de Emanuel Adler. Las nuevas reglas recogen en el plano institucional la evolución cognitiva de caudillos (...) y doctores, los protagonistas centrales de la comunidad de práctica democrática uruguaya. Los caudillos fueron aprendiendo en la práctica, por ensayo y error, a competir por el poder pero también a pactar. Los doctores, a partir de esas prácticas pero también de las teorías que circulaban en la época, aportaron el conocimiento reflexivo que recogieron las nuevas normas. De todos modos, no es posible comprender la trayectoria doméstica sin tomar en cuenta la influencia de procesos exógenos. La Convención de Buenos Aires y la Ley Sáenz-Peña tuvieron un impacto profundo en Uruguay. (shrink)
Se ha tratado de desprestigiar al postmodernismo y no se ha valorado su gran contribución a la cultura universal. El postmodernismo empieza a desarrollarse cuando el ser humano se da cuenta que no tan solo sus órganos de los sentidos pueden engañarlo, sino que también su intelecto, razón y sus facultades superiores más preciadas. Las caídas del positivismo y del racionalismo le abrieron la puerta, apoyado por la insuficiencia de la ciencia y la filosofía para entender el universo. La nomología (...) (legalidad) ha tenido que resignarse frente a la ideografía (procesos irrepetibles e irreversibles) para entender el desarrollo universal. La antinomia del mentiroso, el teorema de Gödel, los procesos caóticos, la impredecibilidad, la incertidumbre, son parte de sus elementos sustantivos. El postmodernismo ha condenado a los ideologismos nomológicos o raciales que terminaron en las masacres de la Revolución Francesa, el Nazismo y las dos Guerras Mundiales, entre otros. (shrink)
El siguiente trabajo estudia las emociones trágicas en Schopenhauer y se ocupa especialmente de la compasión, reivindicando el valor positivo de esta última. En primer lugar, se refiere a la teoría de la tragedia de Aristóteles con el fin de clarificar la posición de Schopenhauer. En segundo lugar, intenta mostrar que la compasión posee en este autor una triple vertiente o función: estética, ética y ontológica. Finalmente, se examina una serie de cuestiones que dan idea de la novedad y originalidad (...) de la reflexión filosófica de Schopenhauer con especial mención de la función educativa del arte. (shrink)
This work is a contribution to analytic philosophy of sex. It deals with the scientific concept of the sexed human body by focusing in particular on the logical and the semantic implications of such a concept.
This book is an introduction to philosophy of sex. The history of philosophy of sex is depicted (from Plato to Herman Schmitz) to set up the background against which the philosophy of sex by Herman Schmitz is analyzed. This leads to the discussion of topics like masturbation, the ontology of the sexed human body, and same-sex marriage.
This paper is about the remarkable explosion in the literature on thought experiments since the 1980s. It enters uncharted territory. The year 1986 is of particular interest: James R. Brown presents his Platonism about thought experiments for the first time in Dubrovnik, and in Pittsburgh John D. Norton shares his empiricist approach with participants in what was probably the 20th century’s very first major conference on thought experiments. It was the time when philosophy of science had taken a pluralistic turn, (...) and the paper develops the notion that this is a key factor in the outburst of discussions about thought experiments in the 1980s. (shrink)
ResumenDado que George Santayana mostró simpatía hacia regímenes no democráticos y hay una faceta escéptica en su filosofía, una cuestión ambigua es la de su auténtica ideología política. Para responderla hay que abordar la sugerente teoría crítica de las ideologías que esbozó en su Dominations and Powers, y tener en cuenta su concepción de la filosofía política. Como resultado relativizamos su simpatía hacia regímenes no democráticos, pero al mismo tiempo señalamos las debilidades de su posición política personal así como las (...) ventajas y límites de su doctrina de las ideologías.Palabras claveFilosofía política, liberalismo, poder, virtud políticaAs George Santayana showed sympathy to non-democratic regimes and there is a skeptical side in his philosophy, the question of which was his real political ideology becomes elusive. To answer it we should turn to the suggestive critical theory of ideologies he outlined in his Dominations and Powers, and take into account his conception of political philosophy. As a result, we attenuate his sympathy to non-democratic regimes but we also point out the flaws of his personal political position as well as the pros and cons of his doctrine of ideologies.KeywordsPolitical philosophy, liberalism, power, political virtue. (shrink)
Se dice que el utilitarismo es incompatible con la defensa de los derechos humanos, pues la búsqueda del mayor bien para el mayor número que prescribe el utilitarismo, puede exigir, en ocasiones, pasar por encima de los derechos. Sin embargo, quizá sea posible ofrecer una solución al conflicto presentando una doctrina utilitarista, reconocible como tal, que sea lo suficientemente amplia como para dar cabida a los derechos. La presente obra tiene como objeto exponer la doctrina de John Stuart Mill como (...) buen ejemplo de cómo es posible llevar a cabo esta tarea. (shrink)
Although modern societies have come to recognize diversity in human sexuality as simply part of nature, many Christian communities and thinkers still have considerable difficulties with related developments in politics, legislation, and science. In fact, homosexuality is a recurrent topic in the transdisciplinary encounter between Christianity and the sciences, an encounter that is otherwise rather “asexual.” I propose that the recent emergence of “Christianity and Science” as an academic field in its own right is an important part of the larger (...) context of the difficulties related to attempts to reconcile Christianity and a recognition of diversity in human sexuality as a norm. Through a critical discussion of arguments which are upheld most disturbingly on a global scale by the Roman Catholic Church and supported with much sophistry by important stakeholders of an influential stream in analytic philosophy of religion, this paper aims to contextualize and defend the legitimacy of the question why God would create homosexuals as such if it is true that every homosexual act is prohibited by God. While recently advanced nonheterosexist scientific models of sexuality in nature inform the discussion, I reject the simplistic view that religions suppress and the sciences liberate in matters sexual. (shrink)
Thought experiments are employed for a number of reasons and in many different disciplines. This paper explores the work of Novalis in relation to the method of thought experiments in theology, with a special focus on the encounter between Christianity and the science of his day. In a first step I revisit the ongoing philosophical discussion on thought experiments in order to highlight the lack of interest in the literary features of thought experiments. Step two is dedicated to a discussion (...) of the work of Novalis as far as his metaphysics of phantasy and imagination is concerned as it plays out in his romantic poetry. Building on the results of this discussion, in a third step I discuss the relationship (a) between thought experiments in theology and other disciplines, (b) between current discussions of thought experiments and previous periods of philosophical investigation into the ‘laboratory of the mind’, (c) between Christianity and science, and (d) between literary fiction and cognition. (shrink)