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What Can we Learn (and not Learn) from Thought Experiments in Black Hole Thermodynamics?

El Skaf, Rawad and Palacios, Patricia (2022) What Can we Learn (and not Learn) from Thought Experiments in Black Hole Thermodynamics? [Preprint]

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Abstract

Scientists investigating the thermal properties of black holes rely heavily on theoretical and non-empirical tools, such as mathematical derivations, analogue experiments and thought experiments. Although the use of mathematical derivations and analogue experiments in the context
of black hole physics has recently received a great deal of attention among philosophers of science, the use of thought experiments in that context has been almost completely neglected. In this paper, we will start filling this gap by systematically analyzing the epistemic role of the
two thought experiments that gave birth to black hole thermodynamics, namely Wheeler’s demon and Geroch’s engine. We will argue that the two main epistemic functions of these thought experiments are to reveal and resolve inconsistencies, in line with El Skaf’s (2021) approach to TEs. We will, then, go beyond El Skaf’s approach by stressing an important difference between the strategies employed to assess the reliability of each epistemic function.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
El Skaf, Rawadrawadskaff@gmail.com0000-0002-5883-1072
Palacios, PatriciaPatricia.palacios@lrz.uni-muenchen.de
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Synthese. TC: Surrogative Reasoning in the Sciences
Keywords: Thought Experiments, Black Hole Thermodynamics, Geroch's engine, Wheeler's demon, Inconsistencies in Science
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Thought Experiments
Depositing User: Dr. Rawad El Skaf
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2022 17:32
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2022 17:32
Item ID: 21242
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Thought Experiments
Date: 5 October 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21242

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