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'Platonic' thought experiments: how on earth

Rafal Urbaniak (UGent)
(2012) SYNTHESE. 187(2). p.731-752
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Abstract
Brown (The laboratory of the mind. Thought experiments in the natural science, 1991a, 1991b; Contemporary debates in philosophy of science, 2004; Thought experiments, 2008) argues that thought experiments (TE) in science cannot be arguments and cannot even be represented by arguments. He rest his case on examples of TEs which proceed through a contradiction to reach a positive resolution (Brown calls such TEs "platonic"). This, supposedly, makes it impossible to represent them as arguments for logical reasons: there is no logic that can adequately model such phenomena. (Brown further argues that this being the case, "platonic" TEs provide us with irreducible insight into the abstract realm of laws of nature). I argue against this approach by describing how "platonic" TEs can be modeled within the logical framework of adaptive proofs for prioritized consequence operations. To show how this mundane apparatus works, I use it to reconstruct one of the key examples used by Brown, Galileo's TE involving falling bodies.
Keywords
belief revision, Galileo, reasoning, thought experiments, adaptive logics, dynamic proofs

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Urbaniak, Rafal. “‘Platonic’ Thought Experiments: How on Earth.” SYNTHESE 187.2 (2012): 731–752. Print.
APA
Urbaniak, R. (2012). “Platonic” thought experiments: how on earth. SYNTHESE, 187(2), 731–752.
Chicago author-date
Urbaniak, Rafal. 2012. “‘Platonic’ Thought Experiments: How on Earth.” Synthese 187 (2): 731–752.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Urbaniak, Rafal. 2012. “‘Platonic’ Thought Experiments: How on Earth.” Synthese 187 (2): 731–752.
Vancouver
1.
Urbaniak R. “Platonic” thought experiments: how on earth. SYNTHESE. 2012;187(2):731–52.
IEEE
[1]
R. Urbaniak, “‘Platonic’ thought experiments: how on earth,” SYNTHESE, vol. 187, no. 2, pp. 731–752, 2012.
@article{3148385,
  abstract     = {Brown (The laboratory of the mind. Thought experiments in the natural science, 1991a, 1991b; Contemporary debates in philosophy of science, 2004; Thought experiments, 2008) argues that thought experiments (TE) in science cannot be arguments and cannot even be represented by arguments. He rest his case on examples of TEs which proceed through a contradiction to reach a positive resolution (Brown calls such TEs "platonic"). This, supposedly, makes it impossible to represent them as arguments for logical reasons: there is no logic that can adequately model such phenomena. (Brown further argues that this being the case, "platonic" TEs provide us with irreducible insight into the abstract realm of laws of nature). I argue against this approach by describing how "platonic" TEs can be modeled within the logical framework of adaptive proofs for prioritized consequence operations. To show how this mundane apparatus works, I use it to reconstruct one of the key examples used by Brown, Galileo's TE involving falling bodies.},
  author       = {Urbaniak, Rafal},
  issn         = {0039-7857},
  journal      = {SYNTHESE},
  keywords     = {belief revision,Galileo,reasoning,thought experiments,adaptive logics,dynamic proofs},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {731--752},
  title        = {'Platonic' thought experiments: how on earth},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11229-011-0008-4},
  volume       = {187},
  year         = {2012},
}

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