Questions tagged [thought-experiment]

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92 views

Is an action that causes a paradox impossible?

Suppose you went back in time and tried to murder your 2 year old self. Since murdering yourself in the past erases you, then you can no longer kill anything because you don't exist. Therefore, no ...
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2answers
72 views

Are there any points that can't be made without thought experiments?

Are all thought experiments simply another way to assert certain claims and examples or does it have inherent epistemological value? Edit: is there any point that can't be made without thought ...
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1answer
48 views

Examples for real-world instances of trolley cases [closed]

Trolley cases are scenarios that play an important role in a specific kind of thought experiment, famously published by Philippa Foot. Here's just one of the many formulations: Consider a pair of ...
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2answers
184 views

A thought experiment for free-will, individuality and one-way functions?

Here is a thought experiment I have been thinking about concerning Free Will, Individuality and One-Way functions: Assumptions: Each conscious being in a world has material body which distincts it ...
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0answers
45 views

Experiencing and sensing time dilation when a person dies and the logic of

It is well known that when a person goes to sleep, there are instances when we do not experience time which has phenomenological implications. There is a temporal discontinuity. It is also known that ...
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1answer
114 views

Mechanics of Thought Experiment

How do thought experiments work? We constantly see usage of thought experiments to argue some statements about 'real' world. I am interested in the operating mechanics of such experiments, the ...
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5answers
5k views

What is a "demon"?

The term demon appears in several thought experiments: Maxwell's demon, Laplace's demon, Descartes' demon, maybe others. What is this term supposed to mean? For example, I understand the term oracle: ...
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2answers
141 views

Can biological evolution comsummate?

Can biological evolution comsummate? In biological evolution, living organisms continues to change. However, is there a point wherein evolution stops due to an organism not needing change anymore? ...
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2answers
78 views

Is living with constant mindfulness necessarily good? or does it limit one's potential? [closed]

Isn't mindfulness is difficult for a thinker which usually philosophers are? Mindfulness by definition is bringing awareness to present moment non judgmentally and I agree it may relax you. I believe ...
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5answers
425 views

Can somebody explain the "thought experiment" about the tree falling in the forest?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Of course it does, assuming that there is no freak occurrence like the wind blowing in just the right direction for ...
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3answers
288 views

Can the scientific method ever disprove Magic and Miracles (Simulated)?

I have seen the idea behind this question before but I don’t think it was well formulated. Here is my attempt to ponder on reality based on Plato's “Myth of the Cave” and show how valid it still is. ...
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1answer
156 views

Does Shoemaker's thought experiment about time really work?

Shoemaker gives us an interesting thought experiment about time: Assume that an entire universe is divided into three parts -- A, B, and C. Every 3 years, everything in A freezes for a year. ...
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2answers
393 views

Thought experiment: The distorted brain in a vat

[This is the second version of another question: How does consciousness depend on spatiality?] I admit that the technical details of the following thought experiment sound completely weird but that's ...
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2answers
159 views

Why does Searle's room receive three batches of Chinese characters and two English instruction manuals as input?

Searle's Chinese room receives input in the form of a batch of chinese characters, then twice after receives a batch of Chinese. The second batch of Chinese comes with English instructions for "...
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4answers
1k views

If you are predictable do you have free will?

Let there be a person that acted in some way. Also there is another person who had predicted that behaviour of first person. Does the first person has free will? Is it just possible to do something ...
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2answers
231 views

Why should we even think about determinism?

So I've browsed through some questions here but none of them really fits my thought process: If you assume that determinism is not the case, your actions will therefore be the right decision. If ...
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Can time exist without change?

Imagine an event of one second in length, like two hands clapping. Suppose that another interval of time elapses between the clap, a period in which nothing happens in the whole universe (or in all ...
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1answer
62 views

Mach and Norton thought experiments in science

Both Mach and Norton hold empiricist views on the notions of the role of thought experiments. Could someone please explain the difference? Have done some reading but it’s not totally clear.
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3answers
101 views

Can a single thought experiment have multiple outcomes?

Is it possible for a particular thought experiment to have multiple outcomes based on the view point of the person conducting said experiment? Or can a thought experiment never yield multiple ...
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2answers
202 views

Thought experiments and empiricism

The debate between Norton and Brown regarding whether thought experiments transcend empiricism is interesting with Norton suggesting that thought experiments do not transcend empiricism. If one had ...
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5answers
320 views

If time is discrete, does moving means teleporting?

Please follow this thought experiment: 1) A ball moves one centimeter in one unit of time. 2) A ball disappears. Then, after a unit of time, it reappears one centimeter far away. By now we don't ...
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4answers
256 views

Would we choose to become psychopaths if we could?

Deep Brain Stimulation to stop major depression is a reality in its infancy hence let’s make a thought experiment: Presume a much more advanced version of it was created and everybody could inhibit ...
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1answer
34 views

Is it okay to have multiple aims? [closed]

From childhood we were told to have only one aim. All the stories we were told were around this concept (for example, Arjuna and Fish Eye from the Mahabharata). If we vacillate between different ...
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1answer
114 views

Is complete isolation possible?

Imagine an ideal box, whose contents are perfectly isolated. Whatever is inside it, it has not, has had or will have any relations with the rest of the universe. We could say that its content does not ...
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1answer
144 views

Is this event undetermined?

You toss a coin in an ideal, perfectly isolated box. If nothing and no one will ever check what face it shows, is this event objectively undetermined? (My guess is yes – if the isolation is perfect ...
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2answers
198 views

Is this a paradox about clairvoyance?

You play a game with a fortune teller. There are two cards with the face down on the table; he wins if you raises the card's suit he foresees, you win if his prediction turns out to be wrong. Suppose ...
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7answers
378 views

Consciousness doesn't need your body - a thought experiment

1) During a deep sleep, your consciousness deactivates to reactivate upon awakening 2) During a deep sleep, you are narcotized and killed, to be replaced instantly by an identical copy, which wakes ...
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1answer
72 views

Authors on the philosophical impact of the discovery of an Extraterrestrial civilization [closed]

Is humanity ready to accept the existence of an extraterrestrial species? Would the average citizen of the XXI century would like to know or perhaps It would be better to society to remain ignorant? ...
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7answers
949 views

Does life imply death or the other way around? [closed]

I just heard that good ol' statement in a song and I automatically started wondering, since what's more logical to me is that death implies life? Any thoughts?
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3answers
508 views

Wanted: literature on the ethics of creating a fake world (The morality of God)

WARNING (reader discretion is advised. Don't do these experiments if you are not familiar with existential philosophy or if you suffer from some mental disorder) This question is subtle. I think ...
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7answers
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What ethical studies have been performed on what would happen if a government raises kids without parents?

This is a thought experiment that deals with morality and ethics: Due to low natality governments decide to create schools in which kids are raised by professional caregivers and people trained ...
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4answers
175 views

Is your phone a natural product?

We are part of this natural system where we live and that we named. Our cities, our trains, our streets, some beautiful and some disgraceful, are all part of our natural world, of what we have built ...
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13answers
5k views

How do materialists respond to the thought experiment of the perception of blue and red colors being swapped?

By materialism, I mean the belief that the totality of all in existence is material. That is, particles/waves/energy in the space-time fabric. If one were to construct a thought experiment that ...
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1answer
111 views

What makes a great scientific question for and/or against a stupid idea?

While I am taking a walk I have come up with quotes, questions and philosophy to motivate and route myself. I recently discovered/invented a new quote which really can have multiple meaning to it (...
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1answer
201 views

Schrödinger: order and perception

In a book called What is life? the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger ask himself why we don't perceive atoms, and says: The reason for this is, that what we call thought is itself an orderly ...
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2answers
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Is epistemological potential relational?

There was a thought experiment that came to me. Suppose there would only be a cube, and you as an observer. These are the restrictions. You do not have any knowledge of yourself. i.e. questions ...
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4answers
3k views

How would a Utilitarian and a Kantian solve this thought experiment?

In this thought experiment, you are a doctor, and you work on a roadside hospital. Only you and another doctor are working in the hospital, and a woman who tried to commit suicide arrives at the ...
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5answers
3k views

Why can't I doubt that I am doubting?

Assume that doubt is meaningfully defined. Or let's say we define doubt as , both the statement under doubt, and it's complement can be true or false, we do not know, the uncertainty exists. Imagine ...
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64 views

Philosophy as recreation?

What do you think about recreational philosophy. Is it different from academic philosophy or professional philosophy? Or can anyone (or anywhere even) formulate philosophical statements?
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452 views

Is the phrase "trust but verify" self-contradictory?

Imagine two scenarios: 1) I distrust Bob because he has betrayed me in the past. Bob tells me that "rojo" is the Spanish word for red. I don't trust Bob, so I go and look up "rojo" in a Spanish-...
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2answers
91 views

Exploring potential relationships between logical behavior and moral scrutiny

I apologize if this question has already been asked, however, after searching through several posts, I didn't find anything that was a duplicate. I'm currently taking biomedical ethics (my first ...
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1answer
159 views

Aggregate utility and the sadistic theatre

Situation A: 12-year-old Emma leads a happy life and gains U > 0 utility. Situation B: Emma is continually raped and tortured for an online audience of consumers of sadistic child pornography. She ...
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467 views

The Ethics of Brainwashing [closed]

It is widely agreed upon that slavery and forced labour are unethical. However, consider the following situation: A group of explorers, returning home from a tropical island, brings a boat full of ...
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1answer
45 views

how does desire can kill your focus? [closed]

I often experience my focus dropped when my desire increases. How does both related?
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8answers
330 views

Whatever unites people divides them in the next level

I've been thinking lately that if people are united at level N, that intrinsically makes them divide at level N+1. Let me make myself clear. At level 0 I'm alone - myself. Level 1 might be my family. ...
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2answers
125 views

What is a hypothesis in this context?

Though I know what is a hypothesis, I'm not sure to fully really understand it and thus outlines the hypothesis in my context. I am abstracting my real problem in a common world problem. Suppose I ...
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1answer
373 views

How is this premises and conclusion to refute Searle's CR experiment?

So I've been digging into this topic for days now. I've gone through his paper and also some threads here, which I found were very helpful. I came up with these premises and following conclusions in ...
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1answer
148 views

Could some of our conceptions about the physical universe be wrong? [closed]

I managed to create cold fission by placing a carbon crucible into a polysyrene cut out, put a few small sticks of glow stick stuff from the dollar store, put the lid on and generated a 5 meter field ...
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2answers
2k views

"Jim and the Indians" and killing someone to harvest organs, is it equivalent?

Imagine these two thoughts experiments The first one, slightly modified from "Jim and the Indians" by Bernard Williams: You come upon twenty people taken hostage by an armed group. The groups's ...
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108 views

Zombified Consciousness

Suppose a universe absolutely identical to ours. Suppose then a Earth-like world inhabited by zombie-like creaures (they can be depicted as conceived by Chalmers), but having a one-minute-long “flash” ...