A Short History of the Method of Thought Experiments in Science

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Kühne, Ulrich
conference paper description
1) Remarks on the historical development of the experimental method 2) Major stages in the development of a method called “thought experiment” (a) Metaphysics (Kant, Ørsted) (b) Anti-Metaphysics (Mach) (c) The modern physicists (Einstein, Heisenberg) 3) Does the history of the concept allow for a meaningful explanation of “thought experiments”? (a) Proposal 1: The construction of monsters (Lakatos) (b) Proposal 2: Arguments using generalised principles