HOW TO RECONSTRUCT A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT
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The paper is a contribution to the debate on the epistemic-logical status of the thought experiments. The author deals with the epistemological uniqueness of experiments in the sense of their irreducibility to other sources of justification. In particular, he criticizes an influential argument for the irreducibility of thought experiments to general arguments. First, he introduces the radical empiricist theory of eliminativism, which considers thought experiments to be rhetorically modified arguments, uninteresting from the epistemological point of view. Second, the author presents objections to the theory, focusing on the critique of eliminativism by Tamar Szabo Gendler based on the reconstruction of Galileo's famous Pisa experiment. He shows that her reconstruction is simplistic and that a more elaborate reconstruction is needed for an appropriate assessment of the epistemic power of general argument. He proposes such a reconstruction and demonstrates that the general version of the Pisa experiment is epistemically equal to the particular one. Thus, from an epistemological perspective, Galileo's thought experiment is reducible to a straightforward argument without particular premises.
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