A thought experiment is the imagining of a scenario of some kind, in contrast to a hands-on experiment in which something in the real world is manipulated and observed. Thought experiments play a role in physics and psychology. However, in philosophy and linguistic theory they are a central research tool. People not familiar with these disciplines are often baffled by this and often disapprove. In this article, we introduce the different kinds of thought experiments and the aims of researchers who use them.

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Keywords Actuality, Chinese Room, Conceptual analysis, Methods of linguistics, Methods of philosophy, Possibility, Thought experiments, Thought experiments in linguistic theory, Thought experiments in philosophy, Thought experiments in physics, Thought experiments in psychology, Twin Earth
ISBN 978-0-08-044854-1
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/B0-08-044854-2/01234-7
Citation
Brook, A. (2006). Thought Experiments. In Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics (pp. 701–704). doi:10.1016/B0-08-044854-2/01234-7