ABSTRACT

From Lucretius throwing a spear beyond the boundary of the universe to Einstein racing against a beam of light, thought experiments stand as a fascinating challenge to the necessity of data in the empirical sciences. Are these experiments, conducted uniquely in our imagination, simply rhetorical devices or communication tools or are they an essential part of scientific practice? This volume surveys the current state of the debate and explores new avenues of research into the epistemology of thought experiments.

chapter |10 pages

Introduction

ByJAMES ROBERT BROWN, LETITIA MEYNELL, AND MÉLANIE FRAPPIER

chapter 1|19 pages

Thought Experiment and the Exercise of Imagination in Science

ByJAMES W. MCALLISTER

chapter 2|23 pages

Veridical Idealizations

ByROY SORENSEN

chapter 3|16 pages

What Do We See in a Thought Experiment?

ByJAMES ROBERT BROWN

chapter 4|21 pages

The Body, Thought Experiments, and Phenomenology

ByYIFTACH J. H. FEHIGE AND HARALD WILTSCHE

chapter 5|17 pages

Thought Experiments from a Kantian Point of View

ByMARCO BUZZONI

chapter 7|18 pages

Chasing the Light: Einstein’s Most Famous Thought Experiment

ByJOHN D. NORTON

chapter 10|14 pages

Genealogical Thought Experiments in Economics

ByJULIAN REISS

chapter 11|16 pages

Political Thought Experiments from Plato to Rawls

ByNENAD MIŠČEVIĆ

chapter 12|16 pages

Thought Experiment, Defi nition, and Literary Fiction

ByGEORDIE MCCOMB

chapter 13|16 pages

Can Philosophical Thought Experiments Be ‘Screened’?

ByDAVID DAVIES

chapter 14|22 pages

Computational Modeling: Is This the End of Thought Experiments in Science?

BySANJAY CHANDRASEKHARAN, NANCY J. NERSESSIAN