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The Wonders Of The Thought Process 1






     Thought generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas. Similar concepts include cognition, sentience, consciousness, and imagination. Because thought underlies almost all human actions and interactions, understanding its physical and metaphysical origins, processes, and effects has been a longstanding goal of many academic disciplines including, among others, biology, philosophy, psychology, and sociology.
Thinking allows beings to make sense of or model the world in different ways, and to represent or interpret it in ways that are significant to them, or which accord with their needs, attachments, objectives, plans, commitments, ends and desires.

In common language, the word to think covers numerous and diverse psychological activities. It often refers merely to the act of being conscious of something, especially if that thing is outside the immediate environment ("It made me think of my grandmother"). It is sometimes a synonym for "tending to believe," especially with less than full confidence ("I think that it will rain, but I am not sure"). At other times it denotes the degree of attentiveness ("I did it without thinking"). Many other mental activities, many of which may shade into each other, can be covered by the word, such as interpreting, evaluating, imagining, planning, and remembering.

In common usage, "thought" is often attributed to animals, machines, other non-human objects, and phenomena. The exact meaning of such usage varies as well. The attribution of thought or thought processes to non-human objects and phenomena (especially computers) could be considered anthropomorphism, though such categorizations have been contested by such computer scientists as Alan Turing. As regards animals, to what extent different animals think depends on the exact definition of the word that is given, so it may be taken literally or regarded as anthropomorphic. The phenomenology movement in philosophy saw a radical change in the way in which we understand thought. Martin Heidegger's phenomenological analyses of the existential structure of man in Being and Time throw new light on the issue of thinking, unsettling traditional cognitive or rational interpretations of man which affect the way we understand thought. The notion of the fundamental role of non-cognitive understanding in rendering possible thematic consciousness informed the discussion surrounding Artificial Intelligence during the 1970's and 1980's.

Phenomenology, however, is not the only approach to thinking in modern Western philosophy. Philosophy of mind is a branch of modern analytic philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as the central issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body. The mind-body problem concerns the explanation of the relationship that exists between minds, or mental processes, and bodily states or processes. The main aim of philosophers working in this area is to determine the nature of the mind and mental states/processes, and how or even if minds are affected by and can affect the body.






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Posted on 2012-02-10, By: *

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