thought experiment


Definition of thought experiment

Examples of thought experiment in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When is a work of philosophical fiction more useful than a thought experiment? Sheon Han, The New Republic, "Why Are Literature and Philosophy Such an Awkward Match?," 23 Feb. 2021 At the heart of their argument is a thought experiment in which physicists measure the spin of particles. John Horgan, Scientific American, "Quantum Mechanics, Free Will and the Game of Life," 14 Feb. 2021 The thought experiment is actually a large scale version of a scenario the U.S. Air Force once contemplated during the heady, anything-goes days of the Cold War. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch What Would Happen If We Nuked the Moon," 17 Dec. 2020 Or consider Zeno’s paradox, the famous thought experiment in which a frog halves its distance across a pond—and literally never gets to the other side. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "A Mathematician Has Finally Solved the Infamous Goat Problem," 24 Dec. 2020 So far, double-dipping with vaccines is mostly a thought experiment. Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Science, "Should people take more than one type of COVID-19 vaccine?," 18 Dec. 2020 The goal of this thought experiment is to highlight the immense power of vaccines and the impetus to immunize. Zach Nayer, STAT, "On the road to herd immunity, vaccination speeds the journey," 17 Dec. 2020 His actions speaking louder than any thought experiment’s words. John Edgar Wideman, The New Yorker, "Rwanda," 7 Dec. 2020 As a thought experiment, Slater endeavors to find viable alternatives to the fighting that forced many Palestinians out of their homes. Mike Watson, National Review, "Israel and Her Critics," 3 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thought experiment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of thought experiment

1854, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of thought experiment was in 1854

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Last Updated

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Thought experiment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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