- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Thought Experiments1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Summary" above.
Write-up2 (as at 11/03/2018 20:19:41): Thought Experiments
- In general, I’m in favour of using thought experiments in philosophy.
- However, I’d like to consider, following "Wilkes (Kathleen) - Real People: Personal Identity Without Thought Experiments", whether some thought-experiments in pursuit of clarifying issues in personal identity
- Sometimes our intuitions are unreliable as to the truth or possibility of what we intuit.
- Some doubt the possible phenomenal consciousness of artificial systems, however complex, but is this anything other than a fallacious argument from personal incredulity?
- Descartes argued for the real distinction4 between mind and body by thinking he could imagine their separation, but could he really?
- Sometimes, our intuitions may give us no clue one way or the other, or only a gentle lead (as Williams seems to be suggesting in "Williams (Bernard) - The Self and the Future").
- "Snowdon (Paul) - Personal Identity and Brain Transplants" gives a helpful critique of Wilkes’s and Johnston’s arguments (see "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings") against thought experiments.
- "Wilson (Jack) - Beyond Horses and Oak Trees: A New Theory of Individuation for Living Entities" thinks that TEs should be avoided where possible, and real examples used – as at least in actual circumstances we know that the situation is possible (“actual implies possible”), and we know, or can discover, all the background conditions.
- The trouble is that there may not be enough naturally-occurring situations, or practically or ethically available experimental circumstances, to provide the occasions to put maximum pressure on our concepts5.
- Then again, were our concepts designed to be put on the rack? What would their failure really tell us?
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read6, include7 the following:-
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- This is mostly a place-holder8. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (11/03/2018 20:19:41).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
- Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
- In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
- In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
- My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
- I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
- Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018