WHAT: ASOM Graduate research forum
WHO: Rawad Skaff, PhD Candidate, Paris 1 Sorbonne/IHPTS
WHEN: November 13, 2014


The literature on thought experiments in general and scientific ones in particular has grown rapidly since Kuhn’s (1977) formulation of the “paradox of thought experiments”; how can thought experiments give us new knowledge about the natural world without even consulting it ! In philosophy of science the current debate, ranging from the empiricist to the Platonist tradition, purports to answer some interesting questions concerning the nature, the functions, the justification, etc. of thought experiments. After a presentation of some case studies that philosophers have taken as typical examples since Galileo, I will present some of the epistemological approaches to thought experiments that stems from this debate. I will conclude with a presentation of my own approach which links the justification of thought experiments to the description of their common structure.

Photo credit: www.physicscentral.com