Mach and Inner Cognitive Africa
Sorensen (Roy)
Source: Thought Experiments, Roy A. Sorensen, 1992, Chapter 3
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract1

  1. The technique (of thought experimentation)2 looks discredited by the time sceptics yield the floor to Ernst Mach in chapter 3. This Austrian philosopher-physicist was the earliest and most systematic writer on thought experiments3 (and, not coincidentally, mentor of the young Albert Einstein).
  2. Mach's views are of more than historical interest: they are insightful, fairly accurate, and fertile.
  3. My limited disagreements with Mach spring from his sensationalism — the view that everything worth saying is reducible to commentary on sense data.
  4. I argue that this extreme empiricism misled him into an overly narrow account of thought experiment4, ill-suited to thought experiments5 falling outside the natural sciences.

  1. Instinctive Knowledge – 51
  2. The Continuum of Cognitive Bargain Hunters – 58
  3. Mach's Response to the Problem of Informativeness – 61
  4. Appraisal of Mach – 63
    … A. What Mach Got Right – 63
    … B. What Mach Got Wrong – 67


Photocopy of complete Book filed in "Various - Papers on Identity Boxes: Vol 17 (S2: Sm+)".

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from "Sorensen (Roy) - Thought Experiments: Introduction".

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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