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Lets try a thought experiment imagine an ethical discussion void ofthought experiments Conceivable yes but it would be a very confusingand unenlightening discussion Indeed empirical observation will showus that conversations about ethics are often full of imaginaryscenarios extended metaphors and most importantly thoughtexperiments Ironically the most accurate definition of thought experiments israther vague Thought experiments are performed in the laboratory ofthe mind Beyond that bit of metaphor its hard to say just what theyare For some any sort of analogy or metaphor counts as a thoughtexperiment for others a thought experiment has to be a possibleexperiment that is able to fulfil its aims without physical executionGenerally a thought experiment is a manipulation of circumstancesconceived with the intention of fulfilling a certain aim which willproduce new insights or raise new queriesThe empirical observation that all ethical theories use thoughtexperiments to exemplify or support their viewpoints is a fairlyuninteresting point to make its implications are interesting Canthought experiments be sufficient mediums for the construction of moralknowledgeIIThe construction of moral knowledge is at best a hazy concept Ethicsis a mess - try hard as they may moral philosophers have been unableto formulate a Grand Theory of Ethics in fact they havent even beenable to come up with a single determinant for rightness or goodnessDespite this mess the average layman still speaks of moralitysignifying a distinction between the moral philosophers theories andthe average laymans deliberations When dealing with a thoughtexperiment we are forced to exercise our skill of making moraldecisions Drawing upon an inherent vague guiding sense of right andwrong we ask ourselves questions such as Is this the right and goodthing to do and Should I do this before coming to a decisionjustifying that decision to our peers and patting ourselves on the backfor a problem solved Evidently just as a scientific experiment consists of determining aright method and generating the right results there are two parts to athought experiment - the justification of the moral
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