The Logic of Thought Experiments
Bunzl (Martin)
Source: Synthese, Vol. 106, No. 2 (Feb., 1996), pp. 227-240
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. In this paper I argue that (at least many) philosophical thought experiments1 are unreliable. But I argue that this notion of unreliability has to be understood relative to the goal of thought experiments2 as knowledge producing. And relative to that goal many thought experiments3 in science are just as unreliable.
  2. But in fact thought experiments4 in science play a varied role and I will suggest that knowledge production is a goal only under quite limited circumstances. I defend the view that these circumstances can (sometimes) arise in philosophy as well.

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