Experimental thoughts about thought experiments in medieval Islam

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McGinnis, Jon
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conference paper description
The study begins with the language employed in and the psychological basis of thought experiments as understood by certain medieval Arabic philosophers. It then provides a taxonomy of different kinds of thoughts experiments used in the medieval Islamic world. These include purely fictional thought experiments, idealizations and finally thought experiments using ingenious machines. The study concludes by suggesting that thought experiments provided a halfway house during this period between a staunch rationalism and an emerging empiricism.