REVIEW: James R. Brown, Laboratory of the Mind

Michael T. Stuart

Abstract


Originally published in 1991, "The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences" is the first monograph to identify and address some of the many interesting questions that pertain to thought experiments. While the putative aim of the book is to explore the nature of thought experimental evidence, it has another important purpose which concerns the crucial role thought experiments play in Brown’s Platonic master argument. In that argument, Brown argues against naturalism and empiricism (Brown 2012), for mathematical Platonism (Brown 2008), and from the Platonist-friendly, abstract universals posited by the Dretske-Tooley-Armstrong (DTA) account of the laws of nature to a more general, physical Platonism. "The Laboratory of the Mind" is where he takes this final step.

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