Tuesday, February 19, 2013
some of you have brought the issue of thought experiment in class.
why do we need them?
1- to challenge the prevailing status quo (which includes activities such as correcting misinformation (or misapprehension),
2- to identify flaws in argument(s) presented,
3- to preserve (for the long-term) objectively established fact, and
4- to refute specific assertions that some particular thing is permissible, forbidden, known, believed, possible, or necessary);
5- to extrapolate beyond (or interpolate within) the boundaries of already established fact;
6- to predict and forecast the (otherwise) indefinite and unknowable future; explain the past; the retrodiction, postdiction and hind-casting of the (otherwise) indefinite and unknowable past;
7- to facilitate decision making, choice and strategy selection; solve problems, and generate ideas;
8- to move current (often insoluble) problems into another, more helpful and more productive problem space (e.g., see functional fixedness);
9- to attribute causation, preventability, blame and responsibility for specific outcomes;
10- to assess culpability and compensatory damages in social and legal contexts;
11- to ensure the repeat of past success;
12- to examine the extent to which past events might have occurred differently.
13- to ensure the (future) avoidance of past failures.