Thought experiments are a means of imaginative reasoning that lie at the heart of philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to the modern era, and they also play central roles in a range of fields, from physics to politics. The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments is an invaluable guide and reference source to this multifaceted subject. Comprising over 30 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Companion covers the following important areas:

· the history of thought experiments, from antiquity to the trolley problem and quantum non-locality;

· thought experiments in the humanities, arts, and sciences, including ethics, physics, theology, biology, mathematics, economics, and politics;

· theories about the nature of thought experiments;

· new discussions concerning the impact of experimental philosophy, cross-cultural comparison studies, metaphilosophy, computer simulations, idealization, dialectics, cognitive science, the artistic nature of thought experiments, and metaphysical issues.

This broad ranging Companion goes backwards through history and sideways across disciplines. It also engages with philosophical perspectives from empiricism, rationalism, naturalism, skepticism, pluralism, contextualism, and neo-Kantianism to phenomenology. This volume will be valuable for anyone studying the methods of philosophy or any discipline that employs thought experiments, as well as anyone interested in the power and limits of the mind.

chapter |28 pages

Thought Experiments

State of the art

part I|121 pages

Selected History of Thought Experiments

part II|128 pages

Thought Experiments and Their Fields

chapter 10|12 pages

Theology and Thought Experiments

chapter 11|16 pages

Thought Experiments in Ethics

chapter 12|32 pages

Happiest Thoughts

Great thought experiments of modern physics

part III|87 pages

Contemporary Philosophical Approaches to Thought Experiments

chapter 15|12 pages

The Argument View

Are thought experiments mere picturesque arguments?

chapter 19|24 pages

Phenomenology and Thought Experiments

Thought experiments as anticipation pumps

part IV|191 pages

Issues, Challenges and Interactions

chapter 20|16 pages

Intuition and Its Critics

chapter 25|15 pages

The Worst Thought Experiment

chapter 27|14 pages

Thought Experiments and Simulation Experiments

Exploring hypothetical worlds

chapter 29|14 pages

Art and Thought Experiments

chapter 31|13 pages

On the Identity of Thought Experiments

Thought experiments rethought