In the Theoretician's Laboratory: Thought Experimenting as Mental Modeling

  title={In the Theoretician's Laboratory: Thought Experimenting as Mental Modeling},
  author={Nancy J. Nersessian},
  journal={PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association},
  pages={291 - 301}
  • N. Nersessian
  • Published 1992
  • Psychology
  • PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Thought experiments have played a prominent role in numerous cases of conceptual change in science. I propose that research in cognitive psychology into the role of mental modeling in narrative comprehension can illuminate how and why thought experiments work. In thought experimenting a scientist constructs and manipulates a mental simulation of the experimental situation. During this process, she makes use of inferencing mechanisms, existing representations, and general world knowledge to make… Expand
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