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Gendler, Tamar Szabó. Galileo and the Indispensability of Scientific Thought Experiment
1998, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (3):397-424.
Added by: Andrea Blomqvist

Abstract: By carefully examining one of the most famous thought experiments in the history of science – that by which Galileo is said to have refuted the Aristotelian theory that heavier bodies fall faster than lighter ones – I attempt to show that thought experiments play a distinctive role in scientific inquiry. Reasoning about particular entities within the context of an imaginary scenario can lead to rationally justified concluusions that – given the same initial information – would not be rationally justifiable on the basis of a straightforward argument.

Comment: This paper would be a good to put as further reading in a week focusing on thought experiments. Suitable for a third year module.

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