Thought experiments are a means of imaginative reasoning that lie at the heart of philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to the modern era, and they also play central roles in a range of fields, from physics to politics. The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments is an invaluable guide and reference source to this multifaceted subject. Comprising over 30 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Companion covers the following important areas:
· the history of thought experiments, from antiquity to the trolley problem and quantum non-locality;
· thought experiments in the humanities, arts, and sciences, including ethics, physics, theology, biology, mathematics, economics, and politics;
· theories about the nature of thought experiments;
· new discussions concerning the impact of experimental philosophy, cross-cultural comparison studies, metaphilosophy, computer simulations, idealization, dialectics, cognitive science, the artistic nature of thought experiments, and metaphysical issues.
This broad ranging Companion goes backwards through history and sideways across disciplines. It also engages with philosophical perspectives from empiricism, rationalism, naturalism, skepticism, pluralism, contextualism, and neo-Kantianism to phenomenology. This volume will be valuable for anyone studying the methods of philosophy or any discipline that employs thought experiments, as well as anyone interested in the power and limits of the mind.
Table of Contents
- Thought Experiments: State of the Art – Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige and James Robert Brown
- The Triple Life of Ancient Thought Experiments – Katerina Ierodiakonou
- Thought Experiments in Plato – Alexander Becker
- Aristotle and Thought Experiments – Klaus Corcilius
- Experimental Thoughts on Thought Experiments in Medieval Islam – Jon McGinnis
- Galileo's Thought Experiments: Projective Participation and the Integration of Paradoxes – Paolo Palmieri
- Thought Experiments in Newton and Leibniz – Richard T. W. Arthur
- Kant, Hegel and Wittgenstein: Thought Experiments, Epistemology and Our Cognitive (In)Capacities – Kenneth R. Westphal
- Thought Experiments in Political Philosophy – Nenad Miščević
- Thought Experiments in Economics – Margaret Schabas
- Theology and Thought Experiments – Yiftach Fehige
- Thought Experiments in Ethics – George Brun
- Happiest Thoughts: Great Thought Experiments of Modern Physics – Kent A. Peacock
- Thought Experiments in Biology – Guillaume Schlaepfer and Marcel Weber
- Thought Experiments in Mathematics – Irina Starikova and Marcus Giaquinto
- The Argument View: Are Thought Experiments Mere Picturesque Arguments? – Elke Brendel
- Platonism and the A Priori in Thought Experiments – Thomas Grundmann
- Cognitive Science, Mental Modeling, and Thought Experiments – Nancy J. Nersessian
- Kantian Accounts of Thought Experiments – Marco Buzzoni
- Phenomenology and Thought Experiments: Thought Experiments as Anticipation Pumps – Harald A. Wiltsche
- Intuition and Its Critics – Stephen Stich and Kevin Tobia
- Thought Experiments and Experimental Philosophy – Kirk Ludwig
- Thought Experiments in Current Metaphilosophical Debates – Daniel Cohnitz and Sören Häggqvist
- Historicism and Cross-Culture Comparison – James W. McAllister
- A Dialectical Account of Thought Experiments – Jean-Yves Goffi and Sophie Roux
- The Worst Thought Experiment – John D. Norton
- Thought Experiments and Idealizations – Julian Reiss
- Thought Experiments and Simulation Experiments: Exploring Hypothetical Worlds – Johannes Lenhard
- Images and Imagination in Thought Experiments – Letitia Meynell
- Art and Thought Experiments – David Davies
- How Thought Experiments Increase Understanding – Michael T. Stuart
- On the Identity of Thought Experiments: Thought Experiments Rethought – Alisa Bokulich and Mélanie Frappier
Part One: Selected History of Thought Experiments
Part Two: Thought Experiments and their Fields
Part Three: Contemporary Philosophical Approaches to Thought Experiments
Part Four: Issues, Challenges and Interactions
Michael T. Stuart is a fellow of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, London School of Economics, UK.
Yiftach Fehige is Associate Professor at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto, Canada.
James Robert Brown is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, Canada.
"The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments is a valuable resource for anyone interested in thought experiments. It contains discussions of the identity and nature of thought experiments, their roles in different disciplines, the ways they figure in reasoning and representation, and their contributions to understanding."
Catherine Z. Elgin, Harvard University, USA
"This companion is a faithful reflection of contemporary discussions over thought experiments, which are more rich and complex than can be indicated in this short review."
Carla Rita Palmerino, Metascience, 2019
"The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments is an extensive reference work for the lover of thought experiments. Scientists, philosophers and historians get their money's worth due to the multitude of perspectives included in the collection."
James Robert Brown, The Reading Club of Everything, 2020