From charlesreid1

Ernst Mach was the inventor of thought experiments - a useful tool for the armchair physicist.

Mach was an instrumentalist, meaning he viewed models and theories the same way he viewed instruments - as temporary, ephemeral devices useful for understanding reality, but not useful as an end in and of themselves. This is in contrast to the realist perspective, which is the view that reality has an innate mathematical structure to it, and that nature is somehow striving for "simpler" models.

See also: Fermi Problems