Pierre Duhem and Ernst Mach on Thought Experiments

Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 8 (1):1-27 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The conventional interpretation that Pierre Duhem condemned outright any type of thought experiment in Ernst Mach’s sense should be, at least in large part, rejected. Although Duhem placed particular emphasis on the perils of thought experiments that Mach had overlooked or at least underestimated, he retained the core idea of Mach’s theory, according to which thought experiments cannot break free from the ultimate authority of real-world experiments. This similarity between Duhem’s and Mach’s views about thought experiments is not the only one. Just as there was in Duhem’s criticism of “expériences fictives” a tendency leading him to give voice to one of Mach’s basic empiricist claims, so also there was in Mach’s interpretation of thought experiments a tendency in the direction of Duhem’s conventionalism. If Mach’s and Duhem’s conceptions of thought experiments are compared, there results an importantly similar, although not identical, tension that should properly be taken into account in the more general comparison between Mach and Duhem.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,654

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Tracing the Development of Thought Experiments in the Philosophy of Natural Sciences.Aspasia S. Moue, Kyriakos A. Masavetas & Haido Karayianni - 2006 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (1):61-75.
Pierre Duhem on the Testing of Hypotheses.Glen C. Joy - 1979 - Philosophy Research Archives 5:1-24.
Thought experiments in current metaphilosophical debates.Daniel Cohnitz & Sören Häggqvist - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 406-424.
The role of variation in thought experiments.Nebojsa Kujundzic - 1998 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (3):239 – 243.
A Solution of Duhem's Problem on the Basis of the Logic of a Crucial Experiment.Young-eui Rhee - 2001 - Dissertation, State University of New York at Binghamton
Thought Experiments.Roy A. Sorensen - 1992 - Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press USA.
Saving Mach’s View on Atoms.Manuel Bächtold - 2010 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 41 (1):1 - 19.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-11-02

Downloads
58 (#244,964)

6 months
12 (#121,159)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

Thought Experiments.Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James R. Brown - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 25 (1):135-142.
Pierre Duhem.Roger Ariew - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Norton-Brown Tartışması Bağlamında Bilimsel Düşünce Deneyleri.Alper Bilgehan Yardımcı - 2020 - Beytulhikme An International Journal of Philosophy 10 (4):1235-1255.
The Annus Mirabilis of 1986: Thought Experiments and Scientific Pluralism.Yiftach Fehige - 2021 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 11 (1):222-240.
Thought Experiments and the Scientific Imagination.Alice Murphy - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Leeds

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory.Pierre Duhem & Philip P. Wiener - 1955 - Science and Society 19 (1):85-87.
La théorie physique: son objet et sa structure.P. Duhem - 1906 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 61:324-327.
Substanzbegriff und Funktionsbegriff.Ernst Cassirer - 1910 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 18 (6):7-8.
Die mechanik in ihrer entwickelung historisch-kritisch dargestellt.Ernst Mach - 1885 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 19:232-235.

View all 18 references / Add more references