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Thought refers to ideas or arrangements of ideas that are the result of the process of thinking. Though thinking is an activity considered essential to humanity, there is no general consensus as to how we define or understand it.
Because thought underlies many human actions and interactions, understanding its physical and metaphysical origins, processes, and effects has been a longstanding goal of many academic disciplines including linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, artificial intelligence, biology, sociology and cognitive science.
Thinking allows humans to make sense of, interpret, represent or model the world they experience, and to make predictions about that world. It is therefore helpful to an organism with needs, objectives, and desires as it makes plans or otherwise attempts to accomplish those goals.
The word thought comes from Old English þoht, or geþoht, from stem of þencan "to conceive of in the mind, consider".
The word "thought" may mean,:
Definitions may or may not require that thought
Definitions of thought may also be derived directly or indirectly from theories of thought.
What is most thought-provoking in these thought-provoking times, is that we are still not thinking.
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 cast 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 1970s and 1980s.
Phenomenology, however, is not the only approach to thinking in modern Western philosophy. Philosophy of mind is a branch of 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.
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