Analysing Thought Experiments

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Philosophers such as Gettier, Frankfurt, and Thomson are famous for their thought
experiments. This makes one wonder: how did they invent their cases? Were they
just lucky to devise a good case, or did they follow some basic rules that are available
to all of us? In this paper, we argue for the latter answer by presenting a guidebook
for analysing thought experiments. Our guidebook clearly specifies which factors
should be included in a thought experiment, and which factors should be left out.
This will help students to see through the fantastical elements of TEs, to learn the
practice, and to check whether philosophers are doing things right. We illustrate our
account in some detail using examples from Thomson’s thought experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-383
Number of pages17
JournalTeaching Philosophy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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