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Thought Experiments In The De Anima Commentaries

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Chapter Summary

Atomism enjoyed a revival amongst a minority of natural philosophers and theologians in the first part of the 14th century. This chapter examines two atomist thought experiments and different ways in which their opponents tried to respond to them. By examining these responses, the chapter hopes to clarify the epistemic status of thought experiments. Thus, is a thought experiment an argument or an actual experiment? How can an imaginative experiment be verisimilar and bring about new knowledge of nature, and finally, what can it teach us about the medieval conception of science? For this, the chapter first presents two atomist thought experiments, and successively examine two kinds of response.

Keywords:atomism; medieval debates



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