Thought experiments are performed in the "laboratory" of the mind. Beyond this metaphor, it is difficult to define just what these remarkable devices for investigating nature are, or how they work. Although most scientists and philosophers recognize the importance of thought experiments, "The Laboratory of the Mind" is the only full-length study of their nature and function.
Beginning with Galileo's argument on falling bodies, James Robert Brown describes numerous examples of the most influential thought experiments from the history of science. He provides a thorough introduction to the subject, and makes the provocative claim that some thought experiments should be understood in the same way that platonists understand mathematical activity: as an intellectual grasp of an independently existing abstract realm.
The book concludes with chapters on the nature of Einstein's work and on the interpretation of quantum mechanics which stand as a test of the author's central claims. Now available in paper, "The Laboratory of the Mind" provides a clear and well-structured discussion that will be of great interest to both philosophers of science and scientists.
"Cogent, lively, enthusiastic . . . A wonderfully stimulating book, highly recommended."
"Brown's spledid little book . . . is an excellent value . . . an informative read."
"I recommend this book to anybody interested in the philosophy of science. Brown has stimulating things to say about a number of topics, and his book is a model of how to present difficult material clearly and without fuss . . . a fascinating compendium."
-David Papineau, "Times Higher Education Supplement
Series: Philosophical Issues in Science Series
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 29th April 1993
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97
Weight (kg): 0.25
Edition Number: 1