"467. I am sitting with a philosopher in the garden; he says again and again "I know that that's a tree", pointing to a tree that is near us. Someone else arrives and hears this, and I tell him: "This fellow isn't insane. We are only doing philosophy." -- Ludwig Wittgenstein from On Certainty
"A thought experiment is an imaginary experiment." -- Ernst Mach
Behold the mighty 813 pentode, originally designed for rf (radio frequency) transmitter applications. However - when hauled-into service for af (audio frequency) amplifier applications, these pentodes produce the sweet, powerful and cosmic sonics -
Substituting "pentodes" for "experiments".
Suppose that - in my mind, I imagine that I apply 30K Volts DC to the anode of a thought 813 pentode and set the idle bias to .500 Amps. Will my thought pentode explode - independently - of my thinking that it explodes?
Should I apply the exact amount of voltage to and push the same amount of current through an existing 813 pentode, barring a breakdown in the laws of physics, the existing tube will explode (or melt) - independently - of my thinking that it explodes.
Existing (non-imaginary) 813 pentodes have a max voltage rating of 2500 Volts DC and a max wattage rating of 125 Watts. Applying 30K Volts DC to and pushing .500 Amps through an existing 813 would exceed the max wattage rating by around 120 fold, frying it. Just as thought pentodes ain't existing pentodes, thought experiments ain't existing experiments.
One can think about experiments, and one can think about pentodes - but one cannot bring either an experiment or a pentode into existence by thinking. Neither experiments nor pentodes exist "in the form of thought". An experiment or a pentode must appear in more than human thought for it to exist. Events occur under mind-independent conditions - which only reality provides. Reality is the sole truth-condition generator. Human minds cannot (un-mediated by human action) produce the external circumstances - under which an event (such as an experiment) occurs.
When you prefix the occult-word "thought" to another word - say - an object, an animal or a human activity, it does not follow that the newly conjoined phrase picks-out any state of affairs, existing in the world. For example -