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Thought Experiments and the Inference to a Coherent Explanation

Kuehne, Ulrich J. (1995) Thought Experiments and the Inference to a Coherent Explanation. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    This talk proposes a solution to the "paradox of thought experiments": how seemingly new empirical insights are derived by “thought experiments” which are entirely conducted inside one’s head, so to speak, without any new empirical import. Rather than the discovery of new facts the purpose of a successful thought experiment is to transform vague intuitions about nature into explanatory standards, which may be uses later on as normative principles or formal constraints in the formation of new theories. The author later wrote a Dr.-phil.-thesis on this subject: "Die Methode des Gedankenexperiments. Untersuchung zur Rationalität naturwissenschaftlicher Theoriereformen." (Bremen University, submitted October 5th 2001, summa cum laude) an abridged version of which has been published in the book: Ulrich Kühne, Die Methode des Gedankenexperiments. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag 2005. 410 pages, ISBN: 978-3-518-29342-3.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: thought experiment, scientific explanation
    Subjects: General Issues > Thought Experiments
    General Issues > Theory Change
    Depositing User: Ulrich J. Kuehne
    Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2007
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:15
    Item ID: 3497
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/3497

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