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Telling Stories in Science: Feyerabend and Thought Experiments

Stuart, Michael T. (2021) Telling Stories in Science: Feyerabend and Thought Experiments. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The history of the philosophy of thought experiments has touched on the work of Kuhn, Popper, Duhem, Mach, Lakatos, and other big names of the 20th century. But so far, almost nothing has been written about Paul Feyerabend. His most influential work was Against Method, 8 chapters of which concern a case study of Galileo with a significant focus on Galileo’s thought experiments. In addition, the later Feyerabend was interested in what might be called the epistemology of drama, including stories and myths. This paper brings these different aspects of Feyerabend’s work together in an attempt to present what might have been his considered views on scientific thought experiments. According to Feyerabend, TEs are a special kind of story that can help to demolish a dominant myth and instigate a new one through the use of propaganda to change our habits, by appealing to our sense of what is interesting, appealing, revealing, comprehensible, coherent and surprising. I conclude by contrasting Feyerabend’s ideas with two modern currents in the debate surrounding thought experiments: 1) the claim that the epistemology of thought experiments is just the epistemology of deductive or inductive arguments, and 2) the claim that the specifically narrative quality of thought experiments must be taken into account if we want a complete epistemology of thought experiments.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Stuart, Michael T.mike.stuart.post@gmail.com0000-0002-4165-2641
Additional Information: To appear in HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 10(2).
Keywords: Scientific Imagination; Feyerabend; Thought Experiments; History of Philosophy of Science; Narrative
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
General Issues > Thought Experiments
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Michael T. Stuart
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2020 01:21
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2020 01:21
Item ID: 17981
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
General Issues > Thought Experiments
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17981

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