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Thought Experiments And Mental Simulations

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Chapter Summary

There are two ways in which thought experiments could be mental simulations, depending on what kind of process is being simulated. Some thought experiments could be mental processes simulating non-mental processes; others could be mental processes simulating mental target processes. The second category would contain thought experiments which seek to acquaint us imaginatively with moral dilemmas, whether by engaging our reasoning or by replicating the epistemic conditions under which moral sentiments may be aroused. Such thought experiments could be called "mental-mental" simulations (mental source-processes, mental target-processes). Physical thought experiments, on the other hand, would be in the first category: they are conducted by means of processes (thoughts) which do not occur in their targets (external physical events), and could be termed "mental-physical" simulations.

Keywords: mental simulations; mental source-processes; mental target-processes; moral thought experiments; physical thought experiments



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