Evaluating the Cognitive Success of Thought Experiments

Transversal International Journal for the Historiography of Science

Av. Antonio Carlos, 6627 Pampulha
Belo Horizonte / MG
Site: http://www.historiographyofscience.org
Telefone: (31) 3409-3808
ISSN: 2526-2270
Editor Chefe: Mauro Lúcio Leitão Condé
Início Publicação: 30/11/2016
Periodicidade: Semestral
Área de Estudo: História

Evaluating the Cognitive Success of Thought Experiments

Ano: 2017 | Volume: 0 | Número: 3
Autores: Damián Islas Mondragón
Autor Correspondente: D. Mondragón | [email protected]

Palavras-chave: Thought Experiments; Back Ground knowledge; Confirmation; Plausibility; Success

Resumos Cadastrados

Resumo Inglês:

Thought experiments are widely used in natural science research. Nonetheless, their reliability to produce cognitive results has been a disputable matter. This study is conducted to present some rules of confirmation for evaluating the cognitive outcome of thought experiments. I begin given an example of a “paradigmatic” thought experiment from Galileo Galilei: the falling bodies. Afterwards, I briefly surveying two different accounts of thought experiments: James R. Brown’s rationalism and John D. Norton’s empiricism. Then, I discuss their positions and I show that none of them may tip the balance towards the rationalism or empiricism they try to defend. Finally, I put forward that the notion of confirmation, connected to the notion of increasing plausibility, can be used to develop some confirmation rules to compare the explanatory power of thought experiments in competition, regardless of their rational or empirical nature in which the discussion of this type of experiment has been engaged in recent years.