Definition of thought experiment in US English:

thought experiment


  • An experiment carried out only in the imagination.

    ‘the far-sighted politician must do a thought experiment and apply the test of war’
    • ‘It seems intuitive that a thought experiment has to be based on reasonable and informative premises in order to be fruitful.’
    • ‘The point of the thought experiment is to portray the foetus as admittedly a person, but one who is illegitimately using someone else's body, without her consent, to stay alive.’
    • ‘It is a thought experiment designed to arrive at a practical judgment, action upon which is anticipated to resolve one's predicament.’
    • ‘The soul could conceivably exist without a body, as Descartes tried to show when he carried out the thought experiment of imagining himself subject to demonic deception.’
    • ‘Each aphorism or set of aphorisms, must be examined as a thought experiment.’
    • ‘This is, you may recall, a thought experiment predicated on the notion that God exists and did make the world.’
    • ‘As a thought experiment, I summarized her main criticisms of Islam and then substituted Christianity, a faith with which I'm more familiar.’
    • ‘Here'e a thought experiment for you: what are the ten most important issues that powerful graphic design might affect?’
    • ‘The substitute gospel we have just considered is not merely a thought experiment.’
    • ‘As a thought experiment, try turning things on their heads.’
    • ‘There was once a famous physicist by the name of Erwin Schrodinger, and in 1935 he posed a thought experiment involving a very famous cat.’
    • ‘At first glance, this analysis seems to be beyond cynical, but a simple thought experiment would suggest that the idea is not entirely unfounded.’
    • ‘Here's a thought experiment: design any personal tax system you want.’
    • ‘Philosophy lives and dies by the thought experiment, and I've concocted many of my own.’
    • ‘In the first thought experiment, I will review in detail what the evidence says about how that change would affect the quality of their lives.’
    • ‘But then, it's not meant to be a practical proposal, just a thought experiment.’
    • ‘As a thought experiment, consider a potentially uncomfortable example: the practice of polygamy.’
    • ‘A simple thought experiment shows how dangerous are the implications of treating them as combatants.’
    • ‘By trusting our intuitions in the thought experiment, we falsely conclude that rapid waves cannot be light either.’
    • ‘To think about this problem, let's try a thought experiment.’