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Thought Experiments$
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Roy A. Sorensen

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195129137

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/019512913X.001.0001

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Scepticism About Thought Experiments

Scepticism About Thought Experiments

(p.21) 2 Scepticism About Thought Experiments
Thought Experiments

Roy A. Sorensen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents and motivates the issues surrounding thought experiments by assembling the case against their use. It begins by exploring the more specific charge that thought experiment is just introspection, then concentrates on the charge that it is merely an atavistic appeal to ordinary language. Even if thought experiment is distinct from either of these methods, it strongly resembles them. Hence, details of both introspection and the appeal to ordinary language will be discussed in the hope of illuminating thought experiment at least by analogy. Finally, a more general problem about the informativeness of thought experiment is developed.

Keywords:   introspection, atavistic appeal, ordinary language, informativeness

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