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What notion of possibility should we use in assessing scientific thought experiments?

El Skaf, Rawad (2017) What notion of possibility should we use in assessing scientific thought experiments? Lato Sensu, revue de la Société de philosophie des sciences, 4 (1). pp. 19-30. ISSN 2295-8029

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Abstract

It is usually claimed that in order to assess a thought experiment (hereafter TE) we should assess the nomological possibility, or realizability in principle, of its scenario. This is undoubtedly true for many TEs, such as Bohr’s reply to Einstein’s photon box. Nevertheless, in some cases, such as Maxwell’s demon, this requirement should be relaxed. Many accounts of TEs fail in this regard. In particular, experimental and some mental model accounts are too strict, since they always require realizability in principle. This paper aims at analysing the notion of possibility at play in the scenarios of scientific TEs, and sheds some new light on their nature and function.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
El Skaf, Rawadrawadskaff@gmail.com
Keywords: Thought experiments; nomological possibility; Maxwell’s demon; Einstein/Bohr photon box; evolution of thought experiments
Subjects: General Issues > Thought Experiments
Depositing User: Lato Sensu
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2017 13:38
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2017 13:38
Item ID: 13202
Journal or Publication Title: Lato Sensu, revue de la Société de philosophie des sciences
Publisher: Société de philosophie des sciences
Official URL: https://sites.uclouvain.be/latosensu/index.php/lat...
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.20416/lsrsps.v4i1.543
Subjects: General Issues > Thought Experiments
Date: July 2017
Page Range: pp. 19-30
Volume: 4
Number: 1
ISSN: 2295-8029
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13202

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