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Science & Education

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 1–23 | Cite as

Thought Experiments: Determining Their Meaning

  • Igal Galili
Article

Abstract

This paper considers thought experiment as a special scientific tool that mediates between theory and experiment by mental simulation. To clarify the meaning of thought experiment, as required in teaching science, we followed the relevant episodes throughout the history of science paying attention to the epistemological status of the performed activity. A definition of thought experiment is suggested and its meaning is analyzed using two-dimensional conceptual variation. This method allows one to represent thought experiment in comparison with the congenerous conceptual constructs also defined. A similar approach is used to classify the uses of thought experiments, mainly for the purpose of science curriculum.

Keywords

Real Experiment Real Object Thought Experiment Scientific Revolution Quantum Description 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science Teaching CenterThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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