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Thought experiment. How do thought experiments give us knowledge of the world? Many suppose that there is some special sort of epistemic power inherent in thought experiments and that they may even open windows through which we can perceive the Platonic forms of the laws of nature themselves. In a series of studies, I have defended a deflationary account of the nature of thought experiments: they are merely picturesque arguments, I say, and have no special epistemic powers beyond those of ordinary argumentation. "Thought Experiments in Einstein's Work," in Thought Experiments In Science and Philosophy, eds. T. Horowitz, G. J. Massey, Savage, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1991. Download.

"Are Thought Experiments Just What You Thought?" Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 26, pp. 333-66. Download.

"Seeing the Laws of Nature" Metascience, Issue 3 (new series), 1993, pp. 33-38. (Review of James R. Brown, The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences. London: Routledge, 1991.) Download.

"Why Thought Experiments Do Not Transcend Empiricism" pp. 44-66 in Christopher Hitchcock (ed.) Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Science. Blackwell. Download.

"On Thought Experiments: Is There More to the Argument?" Proceedings of the 2002 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Philosophy of Science,71 (2004) pp. 1139-1151. Download.

"Chasing the Light: Einstein's Most Famous Thought Experiment," Thought Experiments in Philosophy, Science and the Arts, eds., James Robert Brown, MeĢlanie Frappier and Letitia Meynell, New York: Routledge, 2013. pp. 123-140. Download.

"Chasing the Light: Einstein's Most Famous Thought Experiment." in Goodies.

"What is the Lift of an Infinite Helicopter Rotor at Rest?" in Goodies.

"Ethics of Imaginary Research" in Goodies.

Narrative conventions in a thought experiment allow thought experimenters great latitude in deciding which processes are typical and bear generalization and which can be idealized away as incidental. This latitude is abused in the worst thought experiment in science. "The Worst Thought Experiment" Download draft.