When are thought experiments valid…and when not?

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Strega Strega 1 week, 3 days ago.

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  • #5026
    Profile photo of Unseen
    Unseen
    Participant

    I’m a structural engineer responsible for designing a bridge across a wide body of water. The bridge will have to bear unusually heavy loads up x tons. I have a sudden idea for a new support system. To test the bridge, I first imagine the bridge and then imagine a truck weighing x crossing it. No problem. I then imagine a truck weighing twice x and again the bridge holds.

    I take it that’s an example of an absurd thought experiment.

    What’s the difference between this thought experiment and a good one?

    #5027

    Well, if one’s mind is as expansive as Edward Wittens’, then scientifically thinking about concepts without writing them down is probably okay.

    If not like Witten, and lack built-in evidence, then thought experiments must be substantiated by keen research/evidence, as much as possible.

     

    #5057
    Profile photo of Strega
    Strega
    Moderator

    Half my cats are at war with each other.  A good thought experiment enabled me to work out where to put the cranky ones so they never meet yet still have access to all the house.  I worked out how to inspire each of them to go into the room designated when the time came to revolve their presence without them encountering each other, and without having to rely on my memory on a daily basis.

     

    #5096
    Profile photo of Unseen
    Unseen
    Participant

    Half my cats are at war with each other. A good thought experiment enabled me to work out where to put the cranky ones so they never meet yet still have access to all the house. I worked out how to inspire each of them to go into the room designated when the time came to revolve their presence without them encountering each other, and without having to rely on my memory on a daily basis.

    Half your cats? How many dozen cats do you have, you cat lady?

    #5099
    Profile photo of Strega
    Strega
    Moderator

    Ha Unseen!  What is the minimum number of cats I must have to make my above post grammatically and logically correct?

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