SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Dispute over an Epistemological Status of Thought Experiments: Platonism, Empiricism and Mental models.
(Philosophy of Mind, English)

I will begin with the introduction of what constitutes thought experiments. Afterwards, I will picture a general outline of the background of modern discussion over thought experiments, which is supposed to reveal that the most substantial as well as controversial aspect of this discussion was a dispute between empiricists, platonics and mental models proponents over the epistemological status of thought experiments. According to platonics, thought experiments are tools that enable philosophers' and scientists' insight into the realm of Platon's necessery and eternal truths. Empiricists, in contrast, consider thought experiments as disguised arguments that can be in fact reconstructed to normal arguments with premises based on empirical evidence. On the other hand, proponents of the last approach characterise thought experiments as mental models. They regard them as analogons of the physical world or imagined situations, processes or events, which are constructed in the mind in order to build a base to infer from.
I will present a critical analysis of aforementioned approaches. By pointing out their limits I will undertake an attempt to defend a thesis that none of these approaches is able to fully explain the nature of thought experimenting. On this basis I will conclude with a general reflection on the state of the art.

Chair: Christian Feldbacher
Time: 16:15-16:45, 14 September 2017 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.004

Przemyslaw Zawadzki 
(Jagiellonian University, Poland)

Przemyslaw Zawadzki is a MA student of Philosophy and of Cognitive Science at the Faculty of Philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.

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