The Logical Structure of Thought Experiments
Sorensen (Roy)
Source: Thought Experiments, Roy A. Sorensen, 1992, Chapter 6
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract1

  1. A paradox is a small set of individually plausible yet jointly inconsistent propositions.
  2. In chapter 6 I extrapolate to the thesis that every thought experiment2 is reducible to such a set. Indeed, I argue that they are all reducible to two highly specific forms of paradox—one targeting statements implying necessities, the other targeting statements implying possibilities.
  3. These two closely related sets are the standardized formats I craved in the discussion of the cleansing model. They are the molds into which raw thought experiments3 can be poured. They then enter the logician's mill.
  4. While in this admittedly artificial state, thought experiments4 can be systematically classified in accordance with which member of the paradox is slated for rejection. Both types of paradoxes have exactly five members, so the taxonomic system has a manageable scale.

  1. Attributing Thought Experiments5 – 132
  2. Thought Experiments6 as Alethic Refuters – 135
    … A. Necessity Refuters – 135
    … B. The Five Responses to the Quintet – 136
    … C. Summary of Necessity Refuters – 152
    … D. Possibility Refuters – 153
    … E. Summary of Possibility Refuters – 159
  3. The Identity Conditions for Thought Experiments7 – 160
  4. An Extension to Ordinary Experiments – 164
  5. The Big Picture – 165


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".

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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