Thought experiments in philosophy

Philosophers love thought experiments. Many of us deploy them as our version of the scientific method: They isolate some feature of our experience and evoke intuitions about it, and these revealed
Philosophy News image
Philosophers love thought experiments. Many of us deploy them as our version of the scientific method. They isolate some feature of our experience and evoke intuitions about it, and these revealed verdicts enable us to adjust relevant theories in light of what we find. The method goes back to Plato, who, for example, has a character in The Republic challenge Socrates’s view of morality by appealing to the possibility of a ring that could make its bearer invisible, in order to demonstrate that people are most fundamentally self-interested. Here are some of the other famous philosophical thought experiments: Suppose there were a planet that was a duplicate of Earth in every way except that the chemical compound of the colorless, odorless drinkable stuff in its lakes and rivers was not H20 but something else, XYZ. Would XYZ be water? (Hilary Putnam) Suppose you knew absolutely nothing about your social status, race, ethnicity, gender, basic life plan, or prospects. Under these. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

blog comments powered by Disqus