SCIENCE FICTION THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS IN BIOETHICS
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Science fiction is particularly apt as bioethical thought experiment. In considering the theories of James R. Brown, John D. Norton and Marco Buzzoni, I suggest that mental-modeling theories afford the best explanation for what thought experiments can do. I propose a version of mental modeling that has the flexible modalities of experience found in Nancy J. Nersessian's account, combined with Nenad Miš?evi?'s compelling vision of how existing knowledge is used to create mental models, and Tamar Gendler's use of schemas to understand ethical thought experiments. Bioethics makes use of thought experiments' capacity to move from abstraction to discrete instances. Sometimes thought experiments will be better, and sometimes real cases will be unavailable. Given the cognitive advantages that access to mental models provides, thought experiments will be of use in the field of bioethics. To identify literature that is thought-experimental I look to Geordie McComb's family resemblance theory, and consider accounts of literary thought experiments by Noel Carroll and Edward Davenport. Extended narratives will in some cases be more useful for ethical understanding than philosophical thought experiments. Science fiction has this same advantage: as ethical narrative it is detailed and humanized. In addition the specula-tive nature of science fiction lends itself to the exploration of new and emerging sciences and technologies including those in the field of bioethics.
- Science fiction, bioethics, thought experiment,James R. Brown, John D. Norton, mental-modeling, mental modelling, mental models, Nancy J. Nersessian, Nenad MiÅ¡ÄeviÄ‡, Tamar Gendler, schemas, literature, Geordie McComb, literary thought experiments, narrative, ethics. scientific thought experiment, philosophy, speculative fiction, Nancy Kress