Friday, October 21, 2005

Romano - 'The Trouble With Hypotheticals'

"no one complains about "thought experiments" from immortally dead philosophers and scientists. Sample the illustrious history in The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy and other repositories of formerly outré thinking.

Descartes launched modern theory of knowledge with his evil demon. Locke posed an exchange of minds between a prince and a cobbler to argue that personal identity is based on continuous memory, not bodily continuity. Galileo, some believe, "only imagined the experiment of tying two five-pound weights together with a fine string in order to argue that heavier bodies do not fall faster."" - The Chronicle.

Romano provides an interesting discussion of the role of logic in hypotheticals in public discussion.

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