Thought Experiments are creations of the imagination used by philosophers to investigate thoughts, ideas, reasoning and understanding. They are used in a variety of philosophical disciplines: ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, logic, for example. Typically, philosophical thought experiments present a narrative, or story, that describes a counter-factual or hypothetical situation. The person engaged in the thought experiment is often asked to imagine themselves as a subject in the experiment, under the conditions the experiment dictates. In this way, philosophers can explore the personal knowledge acquired by such experiments, and use it to further their own understanding.
For this assignment, discover a philosophical thought experiment that appeals to you, describe this experiment in your paper as well as its origin (who made it and why?), and describe the logic of the experiment (what is it supposed to teach?). Finally, explain what you personally learned by engaging in the thought experiment, and how you might use your new knowledge.
Thought Experiments to investigate:
The Chinese Room Argument (John Searle): A thought experiment about Artificial Intelligence.