Thought experiment

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A thought experiment (sometimes the German equivalent, Gedankenexperiment, is used) is a mental exercise which would consider a hypothesis, theory,[1] or principle.

Given the structure of the experiment, it may or may not be possible to actually perform it, and, in the case that it is possible for it to be performed, no intention of any kind to actually perform the experiment in question may exist. The common goal of a thought experiment is to explore the potential consequences of the principle in question.

Famous examples of thought experiments include Schrödinger's cat, illustrating quantum indeterminacy through the manipulation of a perfectly sealed environment and a tiny bit of radioactive substance, and Maxwell's demon, in which a supernatural being is instructed to attempt to violate the second law of thermodynamics.

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