The Narrative of Thought Experiments: Development and Uses of Fictional Narrative in Thought Experiments in Philosophy of Mind

Ward, Sophie. 2020. The Narrative of Thought Experiments: Development and Uses of Fictional Narrative in Thought Experiments in Philosophy of Mind. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The Narrative of Thought Experiments: The Uses and Development of Thought Experiments in Philosophy of Mind, consists of my novel, Love and Other Thought Experiments, along with a critical commentary that examines the relationship between fictional narrative and philosophy of mind in the context of the thought experiment.

The novel is a creative response to a selection of thought experiments, in which I reimagine ten of these thought experiments and combine the resulting stories into a composite novel. The selected thought experiments were chosen for their connection to, and impact upon, contemporary developments in the study of human consciousness. Each chapter follows a principle character of the novel, sometimes overlapping with the narratives of the other characters but as a standalone story, while the overall arc of the novel addresses the central theme of the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness, that is, whether human consciousness is an independent entity of non-physical origin, or a manifestation of our physical being.

The critical commentary begins with a short history of the context and development of what is now known as the thought experiment. The second chapter charts some of the connections between these philosophical short narratives and short narratives in literary fiction. It is my contention that the connections of narrative structure and philosophic awareness, have served to benefit both philosophy of mind and literary narrative, and that in the use of thought experiments in philosophy of mind, we see a synthesis of our storytelling and philosophic investigations into the qualities and properties of the human mind. The third chapter offers a reflection of my writing method for the novel, and how my research affected the development of the creative process.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00030115

Additional Information:

Redacted version of thesis made available. Full version containing the creative component is embargoed.

Keywords:

Narrative, Thought experiments, Philosophy, Identity, Consciousness

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature

Date:

31 January 2020

Item ID:

30115

Date Deposited:

04 Jun 2021 13:31

Last Modified:

04 Jun 2021 14:59

URI:

https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/30115

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