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In philosophy and science black box theories have been proposed for various fields by various philosophers and scientists. Such a prominent theory is the so called "black box theory of consciousness", which states that the mind is fully understood once the inputs and outputs are well defined, and generally couples this with a radical skepticism regarding the possibility of ever successfully describing the underlying structure, mechanism, and dynamics of the mind.


If we had a black box that we could not open, could not just "look inside" to see how it works all we could do is guess how it worked based on what happens when we do something to it (an input) and what occurs as a result of that (an output). If we put an orange in on one side, and an orange falls out the other. We can make educated guesses on what is happening inside the black box. It could be filled with oranges, it could have a conveyor belt to move the orange from one side to the other, it could even go through an alternate universe for all we know. All we can do is guess.

Every now and again something strange will occur that changes our understanding of the black box. Like if we put an orange in and a guava popped out. Suddenly our "filled with oranges" and "conveyor belt" theories no longer work and we have to change our "educated guess" as to how the black box works.

The black box theory is a fairly popular method to describe what psychology is like. We cannot open the mind and simply "peek" inside, we can only do something to the mind (show it something scary) and from the results guess what goes on inside.

See alsoEdit

de:Black Box (Psychologie)

es:Caja Negra (psicología) fr:Boîte noire#Psychologie he:קופסה שחורה (פסיכולוגיה)

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