Thought Experiments and Personal Identity
Coleman (Stephen)
Source: Philosophical Studies. Mar (I) 2000; 98(1): 53-69
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

    Thought experiments1 have been used by philosophers for centuries, especially in the study of personal identity where they appear to have been used extensively and indiscriminately. Despite their prevalence, the use of thought experiments2 in this area of philosophy has been criticized in recent times. Bernard Williams criticizes the conclusions that are drawn from some experiments, and retells one of these experiments from a different perspective, a retelling which leads to a seemingly opposing result. Wilkes criticizes the method of thought experimentation3 itself, suggesting that the results drawn from the experiments are tainted by a faulty method. This paper examines both these types of objection, and concludes that neither can be sustained.

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