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Modal-Logical Reconstructions of Thought Experiments

Mulder, Ruward A. and Muller, F.A. (2022) Modal-Logical Reconstructions of Thought Experiments. [Preprint]

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Abstract

R.A. Sorensen (1992) has provided two modal-logical schemas to reconstruct the logical structure of two types of destructive thought experiments: the Necessity Refuter and the Possibility Refuter. The schemas consist of five propositions which Sorensen *claims but does not prove* to be inconsistent. We show that the five propositions, as presented by Sorensen, are *not inconsistent*, but by adding a premise (and a logical truth), we prove that the resulting sextet of premises is inconsistent. S. Häggqvist (2008) has provided a different modal-logical schema (Counterfactual Refuter), which is equivalent to four premises, again claimed to be inconsistent. We show that this schema also is *not inconsistent*, for similar reasons. Again, we add another premise to achieve inconsistency.

The conclusion is that all three modal-logical reconstructions of the arguments that accompany thought experiments, two by Sorensen and one by Häggqvist, have now been made rigorously correct. This may inaugurate new avenues to respond to destructive thought experiments.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Mulder, Ruward A.ram202@cam.ac.uk0000-0002-9684-6267
Muller, F.A.f.a.muller@esphil.eur.nl0000-0002-7343-4649
Keywords: Scientific Thought Experiments, Modal Logic, Counterfactuals, Vacuous Truth, Counterpossibles, Destructive Thought Experiments, Chinese Room Argument
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Logic
General Issues > Thought Experiments
Depositing User: Mr. Ruward A. Mulder
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2023 18:00
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 18:00
Item ID: 21670
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10670-022-00655-2
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Logic
General Issues > Thought Experiments
Date: 3 December 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21670

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