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In general I would like to know if there is some criteria to consider certain thought experiments or questions to be better suited for philosophical discussion rather than physics discussion.

The question Is a Thomson's lamp physically realistic? has been put on hold for being off topic. I am not clear why that is the case?

I understand that the question is philosophically motivated but I think it is suitable for physical considerations.

One can answer the question in a non philosophical manner. The question ask for some physical argumentation in favour or against a possible outcome in a thought experiment. Even, the possibility of the thought experiment can be argued on physical grounds.

The answer to this question would require to at least elaborate in the following topics:

Experimental designs and results

Accepted and/or actively researched theories

However, there are some other questions (e.g. Did spacetime start with the Big bang? ) which I will regard as highly philosophical but again I understand them being open as all the answers are in some sense physics oriented.

I am asking to consider the reopening of the former question, but as a second plea. My main request is if someone would mind to point me some general guideline about when is a question too philosophical and not suitable for the site. Even if the guidelines are time dependent.

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    $\begingroup$ Thumb rule: If a question sounds philosophical at all, it is probably too philosophical. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Nov 18 '14 at 18:39
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It is the case that 5 individual contributors to this site decided to close this question. This is a fact.

Essentially, everything else is irrelevant.

It very well may be the case that, on a different day (month, year), this question would not be closed.

This site (composed of moderators, contributors with voting rights etc.) is not time invariant.

Finally, regardless of what you think ought to be the case, if essentially no one here is interested in the question, it doesn't matter if it is closed or not.

So, bottom line, it isn't the policy per se; it is up to the OP to phrase the question in a way that is interesting enough to those that contribute here at this particular time.

I could say more but it is late. I'll refine and amplify later.

Would you mind expanding a little bit on how can I phrase the question in a way that is interesting enough to those that contribute here at this particular time

I assume you're referring to the Thomson's lamp question. If the question is about a genuine philosophical puzzle, it is certainly beyond the scope of physics to decide.

Put another way, if physics can decide the problem, the problem isn't a philosophical puzzle.

As an aside, in your question, you write:

The sum of this infinite series of time intervals is exactly two minutes.

I intentionally emphasized the word exactly. Think about the physical implication of that in relation to this puzzle.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, I appreciate your answer. Would you mind expanding a little bit on how can I phrase the question in a way that is interesting enough to those that contribute here at this particular time. $\endgroup$ – yess Nov 18 '14 at 17:38

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