Chapter

Philosophical Thought Experiments, Intuitions, and Cognitive Equilibrium

Tamar Szabó Gendler

in Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199589760
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595486 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199589760.003.0007
Philosophical Thought Experiments, Intuitions, and Cognitive Equilibrium

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Drawing on literature from the dual‐processing tradition in psychology, the chapter tries to explain why contemplation of an imaginary particular may have cognitive and motivational effects that differ from those evoked by an abstract description of the same content, and hence, why thought experiments may be effective devices for conceptual reconfiguration. It suggests that by presenting content in a suitably concrete way, thought experiments recruit representational schemas that were otherwise inactive, thereby evoking responses that may run counter to those evoked by alternative presentations of relevantly similar content.

Keywords: philosophical thought experiment; intuition; reflective equilibrium; imagination; cognitive mechanism; dual processing; conceptual reconfiguration

Chapter.  8749 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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