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"Thought Experiments and Counterfactual Thinking".
Dr. Tim Williamson
Tuesday, September 20, 2005, 01:00pm - 02:00pm
University of Oxford
Thought experiments, especially philosophical thought experiments, are sometimes regarded as involving a real or pretended faculty of intuition. On the basis of a case study, I will argue that the capacity to conduct at least some thought experiments can be accounted for in terms of a general capacity for counterfactual thinking. I will also make some general remarks about the cognitive functions of counterfactual conditionals, the use of the imagination in counterfactual thinking, the relation between conceivability and possibility, and the reliability of thought experiments.