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What is thinking?

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Philosophy 390M
Thinking About Thinking
What does it mean to think? This question may have a lot of different answers depending on who you ask You may get as simple of explanation as picturing a cat in your head. Or you could Google it and come up with the definition of “think” which is directing one’s attention toward something or to have a particular opinion idea or belief about someone or something. People in the science field may try to say that thinking is brain activity. Someone may have a answer completely different from any of these, but are these examples really thinking? I believe that true thinking is something far more than the simple idea of a cat or someone’s opinion of something.

Before we can figure out what it means to think we have to look at what it is not. First of all, thinking is not remembering which is easily confused on a daily basis. When try to remember something we say that we are trying to think, but we are not. We are trying to recall something to our memory such as a past experience or the name of person you met last week You are not trying to think of that persons name because they already have one, you are simply trying to put a face and name together. Which brings me to my next point, thinking is not puzzle solving. Putting something together as simple as a four year olds puzzle or as complex as a car motor require the same amount of thinking, none. Each piece of the puzzle has only one way in which it will work. We may figure out how they fit together or even remember how they go but we are not really thinking.

Some might say that to think is to learn, but again this is not the case. We can learn to read words or solve math equations but this is not thinking. I would call this understanding.

Much like the puzzle, we can understand, learn and remember a math equation but we did not think of it. Most language, especially in early years, is learned by experience or hearing and reading the word but we did not think of those...