Thought Experiment

Thought Experiment : On the Powers and Limits of Imaginary Cases

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This book offers a novel analysis of the widely-used but ill-understood technique of thought experiment. The author argues that the powers and limits of this methodology can be traced to the fact that when the contemplation of an imaginary scenario brings us to new knowledge, it does so by forcing us to make sense of exceptional more

Product details

  • Paperback | 280 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 14.73mm | 517g
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1138990337
  • 9781138990333
  • 1,827,013

About Tamar Szabo Gendler

Tamar Szabo Gendler is at Syracuse Universityshow more

Table of contents

Preface; Revisions Made; Summary of Contents; Chapter 1-Introduction; Chapter 2-Galileo (First Case Study); Chapter 3-The Ship of Theseus (Second Case Study); Chapter 4-Personal Identity (Third Case Study); Chapter 5-Conclusion; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; 1.1 Exceptional Cases; 1.1.1Characterization of "Exceptional Case"; Exceptional Cases in Theories with Privileged Characteristics; Exceptional Cases in Theories without Privileged Characteristcs; 1.1.2 Ways of Accounting for Exceptional Cases; 1.1.3 Patterns of Accounting; 1.1.4 Application to the Question at Hand; 1.2 Imaginary Cases; 1.3 Thought Experiments; 1.3.1 What is a Thought Experiment?; 1.3.2 The Tripartite Structure of Thought Experiments; 1.3.3 Three Sorts of Thought Experiments; 1.4 Appendix to Chapter 1; 2. Galileo; 2.1 Argumentative Reconstruction; 2.1.1 The Elimination Thesis; 2.1.2 Clarification of Terminology; 2.1.3 The Negative Argument and the Positive Argument; 2.1.4 The Dispensability Thesis and the Derivativity Thesis; 2.2 Galileo's Thought Experiment and its Reconstruction; 2.2.1 Galileo's Thought Experiment; 2.2.2 Reconstruction of the Galileo Case; 2.2.3 Four Ways out for the Aristtelian; 2.2.4 What the Reconstruction Misses; 2.3 Denying the Dispensability and Derivativity Theses; 2.3.1 Rejecting Reconstruction: What the Thought Experiment Does; 2.3.2 rejecting the Positive Argument: What Makes these Beliefs New?; 2.3.3 Rejecting the Negative Argument: What Makes these Beliefs Knowledge?; 2.3.4 Constructivism and the Contrast with Norton and Brown; 2.4 Conclusion; 3. Theseus; 3.1 Conceptual Thought Experiments; 3.2 The Story; 3.3 The Puzzle; 3.4 Is the Ship of Theseus an Exceptional Case?; 3.4.1 Automatic and Specially-Secured Identity; 3.4.2 Organisms, Artifacts, and Exceptional Cases; 3.5 Attempts to Dissolve the Problem; 3.5.1 Van Inwagen; Identity Under a Sortal; Summary; 3.5.2 Parfit; 3.6 Attempts to Solve the Problem; 3.6.1 A Traditional Solution: Hirsch; 3.6.2 A Meta-solution: Nozick; 3.7 The Proposed Diagnosis; 3.7.1 Some Very General Candidate Principles; 3.7.2 Remarks on the Candidates; 3.7.3 A Messier Puzzle; 3.7.4 The Proposed Diagnosis; 4. Personal Identity; 4.1 Introduction: The Facts of Life; 4. 2 Setting the Stage; 4.2.1 A Context for parfit's Argument; 4.2.2 What Fission Might Show; 4.3 The Argument and its Crucial Assumptions; 4.3.1 Parfit's Fission Argument; 4.3.2 Four Crucial Distinctions; 4.3.3 Comments on these Distinctions; 4.3.4 The Intrinsicness Premise; 4.3.5 Summary; 4.4 Two Unsuccessful Strategies; 4.4.1 An Unsuccefful Attack on the Intrinsicness Premise; 4.4.2 An Unsuccessful Defense of the Intrinsicness Premise; 4.5 Why is the Fission Argument so Compelling?; 4.5.1 The Casewise Explanatory Difference Principle; 4.5.2 The Casewise Explanatory Principle and the Method of Agreement; 4.5.3 Fission and the Method of Agreement; 4.6 How Absent Features can be Explanatory; 4.6.1 Human Bodies and Borrowed Luster; 4.6.2 Explaining Valuation; 4.6.3 Exceptions, Norms and Local Adaptation; 4.6.4 Prudential Concern in a World of Fission; 4.7 Conclusion; 4.7.1 Summary; 4.7.2 Larger Lessons; 5. Conclusion; 5.1 Factive Thought Experiments: Galileo; 5.2 Conceptual Thought Experiments: The Ship of Theseus; 5.3 Valuational Thought Experiments: Personal Identity; 6. Bibliographies; 6.1 Bibliography of Works Cited; 6.2 Bibliography on Galileo, Experiment and Thought Experiment; 6.3 Bibliography on Personal Identity and Identity; 6.4 Bibliography on Thought Experiment and Experiment; Indexshow more