Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Thought experiments

Electronic data

  • Thought Experiments

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Thought experiments. (2005) Metaphilosophy. 36: 328 -347 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.14679973.2005.00372.x/abstract. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

    Accepted author manuscript, 229 KB, PDF-document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC-ND: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

  • cooper263.pdf

    207 KB, PDF-document

Links

Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Thought experiments

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2005
<mark>Journal</mark>Metaphilosophy
Issue number3
Volume36
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)328-347
<mark>State</mark>Published
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This paper seeks to explain how thought experiments work, and also the reasons why they can fail. The paper is split into four sections. The first argues that thought experiments in philosophy and science should be treated together. The second examines existing accounts of thought experiments, and shows why they are inadequate. The third proposes a better account of thought experiments. According to this account, a thought experimenter manipulates her world view in accord with the �what if� questions posed by a thought experiment. When all necessary manipulations are carried through the result is either a consistent model, or contradiction. If a consistent model is achieved the thought experimenter can conclude that the scenario is possible, if a consistent model cannot be constructed then the scenario is not possible. The fourth section of the paper uses this account to shed light on the circumstances in which thought experiments fail.

Bibliographic note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Thought experiments. (2005) Metaphilosophy. 36: 328 -347 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.14679973.2005.00372.x/abstract.
This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.