PhilSci Archive

The Dynamics of Thought Experiments - Comment to Atkinson

Stöltzner, Michael (2001) The Dynamics of Thought Experiments - Comment to Atkinson. [Preprint]

[img] Microsoft Word (.doc)

Download (62kB)


Commenting on Atkinson's paper I argue that leading to a successful real experiment is not the only scale on which a thought experiment's value is judged. Even the path from the original EPR thought experiment to Aspect's verification of the Bell inequalities was long-winded and involved considerable input from the sides of technology and mathematics. Von Neumann's construction of hidden variables was, moreover, a genuinely mathematical thought experiment that was successfully criticized by Bell. Such thought experiments are also possible in string theory, where any (non-trivial) empirical corroboration seems to be out of reach. Yet appraising mathematical thought experiments and their contribution to physical thought experiments requires a dynamical account which in the spirit of Mach and Lakatos attributes due weight to informal mathematical reasoning or empirical intuition.

Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Stöltzner, Michael
Keywords: Thought Experiment, EPR-paradox, Bell inequalities, string theory, Galileo, John von Neumann, Imre Lakatos, Ernst Mach
Subjects: General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Michael Stoeltzner
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2002
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:10
Item ID: 626

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item