What is Thinking? - Trying to Define an Equally Fascinating and Elusive Phemen Human thinking is probably the most complex phemen that evolution has come up with until w. There exists a broad spectrum of definitions, from subs- ing almost all processes of cognition to limiting it to language-based, sometimes even only to formalizable reasoning processes. We work with a medium sized definition according to which thinking encompasses all operations by which cog- tive agents link mental content in order to gain new insights or perspectives. Mental content is, thus, a prerequisite for and the substrate on which thinking operations are executed. The largely unconscious acts of perceptual object stabilization, ca- gorization, emotional evaluation - and retrieving all the above from memory inscriptions - are the processes by which mental content is generated, and are, therefore, seen as prerequisites for thinking operations. In terms of a differentia specifica, the tion of thinking is seen as narrower than the tion of cognition and as wider than the tion of reasoning . Thinking is, thus, seen as a subset of cognition processes; and reasoning processes are seen as a subset of thinking. Besides reasoning, the tion of thinking includes also nexplicit, intuitive, and associative processes of linking mental content. According to this definition, thinking is t dependant on language, i. e. also many animals and certainly all mammals show early forms of thinking.
Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. KG
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Life Sciences: General
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Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. K
42 black & white illustrations, 16 colour illustrations, 3 black & white tables, biography