Tuesday, February 19, 2013

thought experiment

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.