Chapter

The Logical Structure of Thought Experiments

Roy A. Sorensen

in Thought Experiments

Published in print February 1999 | ISBN: 9780195129137
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786138 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019512913X.003.0007
 						The Logical Structure of Thought Experiments

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This chapter lays out a classification scheme for thought experiments. A good scheme consolidates knowledge in a way that minimizes the demand on your memory and expedites the acquisition of new knowledge by raising helpful leading questions. Thought experiments are all reducible to two highly specific forms of paradox — one targeting statements implying necessities, the other targeting statements implying possibilities. By treating a thought experiment as a stylized paradox, the idea that it reveals inconsistencies is matured. The chapter also exposes the structure of our ensuing ambivalence, as well as the structure of resolutions.

Keywords: classification scheme; necessity refuters; possibility refuters; stylized paradox

Chapter.  16880 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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