"Thought" generally refers to any intellectual or mental activity. 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 model the world and to represent it according to their objectives, plans, ends and desires
Origin and usage
The word comes from Old English þoht, geþoht, from stem of þencan "to conceive of in the mind, consider".
In common language, the word to think covers numerous and diverse psychological activities. It often refer 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 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 (see Computing Machinery and Intelligence). As regards animals, to what extent different animals think is and depends on the exact definition of the word is given, so it may be taken literally or regarded as anthropomorphic.
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.
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