Metaphors, Analogies, and Thought Experiments as Counterfactual Conditionals: a Metaphilosophical account of Scientific Methodology

Jorge Ornelas


In this paper I try to show two things: first, that some methodological devicessuch as metaphors, analogies and thought experiments can be subsumedunder the more general category of counterfactual conditional, and second,that epistemic force of these same devices lies on the reliability of thecognitive capacities which take place in counterfactual reasoning. I analyzeWilliamson’s theory of imagination according to which, imagination is thefactive and reliable capacity behind counterfactual reasoning. I concludewith three objections to this theory in order to show that the epistemic statusof these methodological devices has not been established yet.

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