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object:thought experiments

  "A thought experiment is a device with which one performs an intentional, structured process of intellectual deliberation in order to speculate, within a specifiable problem domain, about potential consequents (or antecedents) for a designated antecedent (or consequent)" (Yeates, 2004, p. 150).

  if I was a automateable PC, what tasks would I set myself to do?

  looking at oneself from 3rd person perspective, but also who's 1st person perspective is that?
  looking at oneself as the trapped soul within, working behind the scenes.
  looking at oneself as The Mother
  looking at oneself interjected into a painful childhood memory, see you now from then.

if I was to go back in time, and became my own parent, what would I do differently? and there anything I need to do now?

  josh as in a story,
  as in a videogame,

big book ::: "No statement of fact can ever be, or imply, a judgment of absolute value. Suppose one of you were an omniscient person and therefore knew all the movements of all the bodies in the world dead or alive and that you also knew all the states of mind of all human beings that ever lived, and suppose you wrote all you knew in a big book, then this book would contain the whole description of the world; and what I want to say is, that this book would contain nothing that we would call an ethical judgment or anything that would logically imply such a judgment."[3][4]

what do you wish for? ::: this TE points to what ones highest value is. there is a potential exception being that one does not actually want the wish if it carries the immediate cost, but still it points.

the supercomputer of the future :::

infinite monkey theorem

The Ship of Theseus (concept of identity)

Experience Machine

The red pill and blue pill ::: is a popular meme representing a choice between taking a "red pill" that reveals an unpleasant truth, and taking a "blue pill" to remain in blissful ignorance. The terms are directly derived from a scene in the 1999 film The Matrix.

subject class:Philosophy

see also ::: paradoxs, philosophical arguments, Koans, Puzzles, Riddles
see also ::: contemplation
see also ::: astral travel, wish


see also ::: astral_travel, contemplation, Koans, paradoxs, philosophical_arguments, Puzzles, Riddles, wish

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now begins generated list of local instances, definitions, quotes, instances in chapters, wordnet info if available and instances among weblinks










thought experiments




abstract machine ::: 1. (language) A processor design which is not intended to be implemented as hardware, but which is the notional executor of a particular intermediate any physical computer or it may be used to make the language implementation easier to port to other platforms.A virtual machine is an abstract machine for which an interpreter exists.Examples: ABC, Abstract Machine Notation, ALF, CAML, F-code, FP/M, Hermes, LOWL, Christmas, SDL, S-K reduction machine, SECD, Tbl, Tcode, TL0, WAM.2. (theory) A procedure for executing a set of instructions in some formal language, possibly also taking in input data and producing output. Such abstract machines are not intended to be constructed as hardware but are used in thought experiments about computability.Examples: Finite State Machine, Turing Machine. (1995-03-13)

abstract machine 1. "language" A processor design which is not intended to be implemented as {hardware}, but which is the notional executor of a particular {intermediate language} (abstract machine language) used in a {compiler} or {interpreter}. An abstract machine has an {instruction set}, a {register set} and a model of memory. It may provide instructions which are closer to the language being compiled than any physical computer or it may be used to make the language implementation easier to {port} to other {platforms}. A {virtual machine} is an abstract machine for which an {interpreter} exists. Examples: {ABC}, {Abstract Machine Notation}, {ALF}, {CAML}, {F-code}, {FP/M}, {Hermes}, {LOWL}, {Christmas}, {SDL}, {S-K reduction machine}, {SECD}, {Tbl}, {Tcode}, {TL0}, {WAM}. 2. "theory" A procedure for executing a set of instructions in some formal language, possibly also taking in input data and producing output. Such abstract machines are not intended to be constructed as {hardware} but are used in thought experiments about {computability}. Examples: {Finite State Machine}, {Turing Machine}. (1995-03-13)

QUOTES [0 / 0 - 25 / 25]

KEYS (10k)


   4 Walter Isaacson
   2 Octavia E Butler
   2 Niels Bohr


*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:One of the nice things about science fiction is that it lets us carry out thought experiments. ~ Rudy Rucker,
2:You must come to Copenhagen to work with us. We like people who can actually perform thought experiments! ~ Niels Bohr,
3:Just as thought experiments can't show that vitalism is true (or that it is false), they also can't show that dualism is true (or that it is false). ~ Elliott Sober,
4:Einstein’s theory of relativity, with its vivid thought experiments, has given an empirically tested texture to my grasp of Nagarjuna’s theory of the relativity of time. ~ Dalai Lama XIV,
5:You must come to Copenhagen to work with us. We like people who can actually perform thought experiments! ~ Niels Bohr,
6:Beyond the bourne of thought experiments, children do not grow like
weeds. The sunlight that opens up the mind and heart is focused most clearly in
the care and love that parents give. ~ Lenn Evan Goodman,
7:The data on which philosophical theorizing is based are rather the intuited contents themselves, concerning the various thought experiments. At least that is so outside the epistemology of the a priori. ~ Ernest Sosa,
8:My love of writing is an outgrowth of my love of reading. Both helped me to escape boredom, to perform thought experiments, and to deal with the daily news. I can create a world that makes more sense than this one. ~ Octavia E Butler,
9:Although empirical knowledge constrains the attribution of essential properties, results are more often reached through a subtle interplay of logic and the imagination. The crucial experiments are thought experiments. ~ Timothy Williamson,
10:My love of writing is an outgrowth of my love of reading. Both helped me to
escape boredom, to perform thought experiments, and to deal with the daily
news. I can create a world that makes more sense than this one. ~ Octavia E Butler,
11:Creativity involves provocation, exploration and risk taking. Creativity involves "thought experiments." You cannot tell in advance how the experiment is going to turn out. But you want to be able to carry out the experiment. ~ Edward de Bono,
12:Science fiction is essentially a kind of fiction in which people learn more about how to live in the real world, visiting imaginary worlds unlike our own, in order to investigate by way of pleasurable thought-experiments how things might be done differently. ~ Brian Stableford,
13:None of the questions was what I expected. Most of them were esoteric thought experiments, 'How would you turn Pride and Prejudice into a video game?' and 'If you added a button to Pac-Man, what would you want it to do?' Conundrums like 'How come when Mario jumps he can change direction in midair? ~ Austin Grossman,
14:Luckily, literature—and by “literature” I mean comic books—provides us a way to discuss issues like these without having to experience them. We don’t have to trick people into standing in front of a runaway trolley, and we don’t have to have a real-life Batman and Joker. That’s what thought experiments are for—they let us play through an imaginary scenario and imagine what we should or shouldn’t do. ~ William Irwin,
15:He made imaginative leaps and discerned great principles through thought experiments rather than by methodical inductions based on experimental data. The theories that resulted were at times astonishing, mysterious, and counterintuitive, yet they contained notions that could capture the popular imagination: the relativity of space and time, E=mc2, the bending of light beams, and the warping of space. Adding ~ Walter Isaacson,
16:A more generous assessment of the learning styles movement is that, in attempting to address the inherent diversity of classrooms, it has broadened the range of pedagogical options available. As Jim Scrivener (2012: 106) argues, even if learning styles are simply unfounded hunches, ‘perhaps their main value is in offering us thought experiments along the lines of “what if this were true?” – making us think about the ideas and, in doing so, reflecting on our own default teaching styles and our own current understanding of learner differences and responses to them. ~ Scott Thornbury,
17:Einstein’s discovery of special relativity involved an intuition based on a decade of intellectual as well as personal experiences.9 The most important and obvious, I think, was his deep understanding and knowledge of theoretical physics. He was also helped by his ability to visualize thought experiments, which had been encouraged by his education in Aarau. Also, there was his grounding in philosophy: from Hume and Mach he had developed a skepticism about things that could not be observed. And this skepticism was enhanced by his innate rebellious tendency to question authority. ~ Walter Isaacson,
18:On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” Now let’s look at how Einstein articulated all of this in the famous paper that the Annalen der Physik received on June 30, 1905. For all its momentous import, it may be one of the most spunky and enjoyable papers in all of science. Most of its insights are conveyed in words and vivid thought experiments, rather than in complex equations. There is some math involved, but it is mainly what a good high school senior could comprehend. “The whole paper is a testament to the power of simple language to convey deep and powerfully disturbing ideas,” says the science writer Dennis Overbye. ~ Walter Isaacson,
19:Impressed by the success of high-level mathematics in the formulation of the general theory of relativity in 1915, we find that Einstein's life-long quest for a unified field theory was dominated by the search for more general mathematical formalisms that could bring together the existing descriptions of gravity and electromagnetism. We find none of Einstein's compelling thought experiments and beautifully simple physical reasoning that lay at the heart of his early success. As the last quotation tells, he had become convinced that by pursuing mathematical formalisms alone, the compelling simplicity of a unified description of the world would become inescapable. ~ John D Barrow,
20:Einstein’s developmental problems have probably been exaggerated, perhaps even by himself, for we have some letters from his adoring grandparents saying that he was just as clever and endearing as every grandchild is. But throughout his life, Einstein had a mild form of echolalia, causing him to repeat phrases to himself, two or three times, especially if they amused him. And he generally preferred to think in pictures, most notably in famous thought experiments, such as imagining watching lightning strikes from a moving train or experiencing gravity while inside a falling elevator. “I very rarely think in words at all,” he later told a psychologist. “A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterwards.”4 ~ Walter Isaacson,
21:Zombies are familiar characters in philosophical thought experiments. They are like people in every way except they have no internal experience....
If there are enough zombies recruited into our world, I worry about the potential for a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe if people pretend they are not conscious or do not have free will - or that the cloud of online people is a person; if they pretend there is nothing special about the perspective of the individual - then perhaps we have the power to make it so. We might be able to collectively achieve antimagic.
Humans are free. We can commmit suicide for the benefit of a Singularity. We can engineer our genes to better support an imaginary hive mind. We can make culture and journalism into second-rate activities and spend centuries remixing the detritus of the 1960s and other eras from before individual creativity went out of fashion.
Or we can believe in ourselves. By chance, it might turn out we are real. ~ Jaron Lanier,
22:Is the solar system stable?’, which means ‘Could it change dramatically as a result of some tiny disturbance?’ In 1887 King Oscar II of Sweden offered a prize of 2,500 crowns for the answer. It took about a century for the world’s mathematicians to come up with a definite answer: ‘Maybe’. (It was a good answer, but they didn’t get paid. The prize had already been awarded to someone who didn’t get the answer and whose prizewinning article had a big mistake right at the most interesting part. But when he put it right, at his own expense, he invented Chaos Theory and paved the way for the ‘maybe’. Sometimes, the best answer is a more interesting question.) The point here is that stability is not about what a system is actually doing: it is about how the system would change if you disturbed it. Stability, by definition, deals with ‘what if?’. Because a lot of science is really about this non-existent world of thought experiments, our understanding of science must concern itself with worlds of the imagination as well as with worlds of reality. Imagination, rather than mere intelligence, is the truly human quality. ~ Terry Pratchett,
23:I find that some philosophers think that my whole approach to qualia is not playing fair. I don’t respect the standard rules of philosophical thought experiments. “But Dan, your view is so counterintuitive!” No kidding. That’s the whole point. Of course it is counterintuitive. Nowhere is it written that the true materialist theory of consciousness should be blandly intuitive. I have all along insisted that it may be very counterintuitive. That’s the trouble with “pure” philosophical method here. It has no resources for developing, or even taking seriously, counterintuitive theories, but since it is a very good bet that the true materialist theory of consciousness will be highly counterintuitive (like the Copernican theory--at least at first), this means that “pure” philosophy must just concede impotence and retreat into conservative conceptual anthropology until the advance of science puts it out of its misery. Philosophers have a choice: they can play games with folk concepts (ordinary language philosophy lives on, as a kind of aprioristic social anthropology) or they can take seriously the claim that some of these folk concepts are illusion-generators. The way to take that prospect seriously is to consider theories that propose revisions to those concepts. ~ Daniel C Dennett,
24:A century ago, Albert Einstein revolutionised our understanding of space, time, energy and matter. We are still finding awesome confirmations of his predictions, like the gravitational waves observed in 2016 by the LIGO experiment. When I think about ingenuity, Einstein springs to mind. Where did his ingenious ideas come from? A blend of qualities, perhaps: intuition, originality, brilliance. Einstein had the ability to look beyond the surface to reveal the underlying structure. He was undaunted by common sense, the idea that things must be the way they seemed. He had the courage to pursue ideas that seemed absurd to others. And this set him free to be ingenious, a genius of his time and every other.
A key element for Einstein was imagination. Many of his discoveries came from his ability to reimagine the universe through thought experiments. At the age of sixteen, when he visualised riding on a beam of light, he realised that from this vantage light would appear as a frozen wave. That image ultimately led to the theory of special relativity.
One hundred years later, physicists know far more about the universe than Einstein did. Now we have greater tools for discovery, such as particle accelerators, supercomputers, space telescopes and experiments such as the LIGO lab’s work on gravitational waves. Yet imagination remains our most powerful attribute. With it, we can roam anywhere in space and time. We can witness nature’s most exotic phenomena while driving in a car, snoozing in bed or pretending to listen to someone boring at a party. ~ Stephen Hawking,
25:It might be imagined that certain people in history—the naturally gifted, the geniuses—have either somehow bypassed the Apprenticeship Phase or have greatly shortened it because of their inherent brilliance. To support such an argument, people will bring up the classic examples of Mozart and Einstein, who seemed to have emerged as creative geniuses out of nowhere. With the case of Mozart, however, it is generally agreed among classical music critics that he did not write an original and substantial piece of music until well after ten years of composing. In fact, a study of some seventy great classical composers determined that with only three exceptions, all of the composers had needed at least ten years to produce their first great work, and the exceptions had somehow managed to create theirs in nine years. Einstein began his serious thought experiments at the age of sixteen. Ten years later he came up with his first revolutionary theory of relativity. It is impossible to quantify the time he spent honing his theoretical skills in those ten years, but is not hard to imagine him working three hours a day on this particular problem, which would yield more than 10,000 hours after a decade. What in fact separates Mozart and Einstein from others is the extreme youth with which they began their apprenticeships and the intensity with which they practiced, stemming from their total immersion in the subject. It is often the case that in our younger years we learn faster, absorb more deeply, and yet retain a kind of creative verve that tends to fade as we get older. ~ Robert Greene,



IN WEBGEN [10000/63]

Wikipedia - Boltzmann brain -- brain formed by thermodynamic fluctuation (thought experiment)
Wikipedia - Brain in a vat -- Philosophical thought experiment
Wikipedia - Category:Thought experiments in physics
Wikipedia - Category:Thought experiments
Wikipedia - Chinese room -- Thought experiment on artifical intelligence by John Searle
Wikipedia - Coherence (philosophical gambling strategy) -- A thought experiment, to justify Bayesian probability
Wikipedia - Demon (thought experiment)
Wikipedia - Einstein's thought experiments -- Kinds of scientific mental experiments done by Einstein
Wikipedia - Elitzur-Vaidman bomb tester -- Quantum mechanics thought experiment
Wikipedia - Evil God Challenge -- Thought experiment in philosophy
Wikipedia - Floating man -- Thought experiment
Wikipedia - Gibbs paradox -- Thought experiment in statistical physics
Wikipedia - If a tree falls in a forest -- Philosophical thought experiment
Wikipedia - Knowledge argument -- Thought experiment
Wikipedia - Maxwell's demon -- Thought experiment of 1867
Wikipedia - Moving magnet and conductor problem -- Thought experiment in physics
Wikipedia - Munchhausen trilemma -- A thought experiment used to demonstrate the impossibility of proving any truth
Wikipedia - Newcomb's paradox -- Thought experiment
Wikipedia - Plank of Carneades -- Thought experiment proposed by Carneades of Cyrene
Wikipedia - Quantum suicide and immortality -- Thought experiment
Wikipedia - Retrocausality -- A thought experiment in philosophy of science based on elements of physics, addressing whether the future can affect the present and whether the present can affect the past
Wikipedia - Schrodinger's cat -- Thought experiment devised by the physicist Erwin Schrodinger
Wikipedia - Science fiction as thought experiment
Wikipedia - Silurian hypothesis -- Thought experiment to assess ability to detect evidence of a prior advanced civilization
Wikipedia - Thought-experiment
Wikipedia - Thought experiment -- Considering hypothesis, theory, or principle for the purpose of thinking through its consequences
Wikipedia - Trolley problem -- Thought experiment in ethics
Wikipedia - Twin Earth thought experiment
Wikipedia - Two Generals' Problem -- Thought experiment
Wikipedia - Unexpected hanging paradox -- Thought experiment in logic
Wikipedia - Wheeler's delayed-choice experiment -- Number of quantum physics thought experiments
Wikipedia - Wigner's friend -- Thought experiment in theoretical quantum physics
Psychology Wiki - Thought_experiment
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - thought-experiment's_train_and_embankment_thought_experiment.png
Blockhead (thought experiment)
Einstein's thought experiments
Hayden-Preskill thought experiment
Thought experiment
Twin Earth thought experiment
Wittgenstein's Beetle and Other Classic Thought Experiments

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