Date of Award


Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Neil Van Leeuwen

Second Advisor

Andrea Scarantino

Third Advisor

Eddy Nahmias


I defend a novel account of thought experiments in science. I motivate the need for my account by arguing for three desiderata that current views in the literature fail to satisfy. According to the view that I develop, scientific thought experiments enable us to entertain new thoughts about the natural world by temporarily disabling our naïve or folk empirical theories. This view is explanatory rich. It explains the phenomenology of thought experiments, provides an empirically informed account of the cognitive mechanisms underlying them, and makes sense of their epistemic value.