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Thought Experiments and Fictional Narratives
Thought Experiments and Fictional Narratives

Author(s): David Davies
Subject(s): Philosophy
Published by: KruZak
Keywords: thought experiments; fictional narratives; deflationism; inflationism

Summary/Abstract: I explore the possibility that there are interesting and illuminating parallels to be drawn between issues central to the philosophical literature on scientific thought experiments (TE’s) and issues central to the philosophical literature on standard fictional narratives. I examine three related questions: (a) To what extent are TE’s (like) standard fictional narratives? (b) Is the understanding of TE’s like the understanding of standard fictional narratives? (c) Most significantly, are there illuminating parallels to be drawn between the ‘epistemological problem’ of TE’s in science, and epistemological problems that attend some of the cognitive claims made for standard works of fiction? If so, are strategies used to defend the epistemic virtues of TE’s equally available to defend the cognitive claims of works of fiction? In addressing the third of these questions, I spell out the range of responses elicited by the epistemological problem of TE’s in science and suggest that at least one of this responses might bear upon the credibility of the cognitive claims of fiction.

  • Issue Year: VII/2007
  • Issue No: 19
  • Page Range: 29-45
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: English