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ERIC Number: EJ785758
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 33
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
The Step to Rationality: The Efficacy of Thought Experiments in Science, Ethics, and Free Will
Shepard, Roger N.
Cognitive Science, v32 n1 p3-35 Jan 2008
Examples from Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and others suggest that fundamental laws of physics were--or, at least, could have been--discovered by experiments performed not in the physical world but only in the mind. Although problematic for a strict empiricist, the evolutionary emergence in humans of deeply internalized implicit knowledge of abstract principles of transformation and symmetry may have been crucial for humankind's step to rationality--including the discovery of universal principles of mathematics, physics, ethics, and an account of free will that is compatible with determinism. (Contains 12 figures.)
Lawrence Erlbaum. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A