Thought experiments are interesting little theories and stories that invoke DEEP thinking. They make you really work to understand their points, and I find them to be both frustrating and extremely fun.
You see, through thought experiments, we are able to investigate the nature of things by using our imagination. Thought experiments are used throughout many different areas of research including economics, philosophy, mathematics, science, and so much more. They range from just about anything you can think of to everything your mind is unable to imagine, I know broad spectrum, isn’t it? Generally, it involved the listener having to make some kind of decision. Below you will find a list of some of my favorite thought experiments, have you ever heard these before?
(Remember these thought experiments often delve into the sinister side of things.)
1. The Trolly Problem
This one essentially consists of something along the lines of whether or not one person’s life is as important as five person’s lives. Would you let one die and save the five or not? The video below will explain this in more detail.
2. Mary’s Room
Image a neuroscientist named Mary who has never seen color, but knows everything about it. She randomly is able to suddenly experience color out of nowhere, has she learned something new? This meaning if she was able to learn something new about something she already knew all about it proves conscious experience is important and can provide us with non-physical knowledge. For a more in-depth look at this thought experiment check out the video below.
3. The Cow in The Field
A Farmer’s prize cow wanders off when the milkman comes to deliver milk he tells the farmer that there is nothing to worry about and that he did see the cow in a field nearby. While the farmer believes the man he wants to take a look for himself, he does and notices something black and white in the distance. Of course, he assumes this is his cow and is content knowing his cow is safe.
However, the milkman drops by the field before leaving to be sure and finds the cow hidden in a grove of trees. He notices a large sheet of black and white paper caught in a tree, this being what the farmer thought was his cow. Was the farmer correct when he said he knew the cow was in the field or not since what he was looking at was not his cow, but his cow was in-fact there?
4. Newcomb’s Problem/Paradox
You are presented with two boxes, one box is see-through and contains 1000 dollars. The other box is dark and could contain anything. Which box do you choose? (There is also a predictor who is predicting what box you will choose off on his own). The predictor has made his decision as to what you choose before you actually get to choose. You have to choose the dark box or both boxes. If you choose the dark box it has 1 million dollars in it (which you do not know,) but if you choose both it is empty. What choice is the correct one and was the predictor correct? For more check out the video below.
5. The Twin Paradox
To begin with, we have two identical twins, one twin takes a rocket into space at the speed of light and the other remains on our planet waiting for his counterpart to return. From Earth time is moving much slower than it is on the rocket because of the velocity. If the trip itself were to take 5 years at 99.9 percent the speed of light, 100 years on Earth would have passed. This meaning the brother in space would have only aged 5 years while the other would have most likely died of old age, right?
6. Achilles and The Tortoise
This one a bit more confusing than most people think. It is essentially explaining how the tortoise would be able to beat Achilles in a race if given a small headstart. You can learn more about this by checking out the video below. Let us know if it makes sense to you.
7. The Grandfather Paradox
This one questions whether or not time travel will ever truly be possible. What would happen if a man went back in time to a date before his parents were born and killed his grandfather? Could this happen at all as there would be no one to go back in time and kill the grandfather? What do you think?