What is Thinking: Definition and 397 Discussions

Thought (or thinking) encompasses a flow of ideas and associations that can lead to logical conclusions. Although thinking is an activity of an existential value for humans, there is still no consensus as to how it is adequately defined or understood.
Because thought underlies many human actions and interactions, understanding its physical and metaphysical origins and its effects has been a longstanding goal of many academic disciplines including philosophy, linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, 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.

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  1. Joshua Akano

    Thinking Critically Of The Future Of Science

    How did you find PF?: Google Search In engineering, math, physics, and astronomy, which one has a fast development speed?
  2. P

    B How did fundamental charge thinking develop?

    How did fundamental charge thinking develop?
  3. P

    I Disproving Carnot's Theorem: Is There an Error in My Thinking?

    But if I would assume that the efficiency of the carnot's engine is greater than the other engine and the carnot engine is driving the other engine backward as a refrigerator ,that would lead to the same contradiction hence disproving carbot's theorem! Is there something wrong I have done...
  4. haushofer

    Thinking about quitting teaching

    Dear all, after my PhD (fundamental physics) I started teaching. First math at a university, and after that physics at a high school (14-18 yrs, pre-university college). I love to teach and to communicate science in general, but I feel that an aversion towards education is growing since the...
  5. nish95

    Crosswind problem (pgs. 34-35, Thinking Physics, 3rd edition)

    Hi everyone, I was looking to develop my physical insight when I encountered this book by Lewis Caroll Epstein. For the crosswind problem, I couldn't understand the author's explanation; in particular, his concept of "artificial wind," and the force being larger in this case than the previous...
  6. T

    B Thinking about a calendar epoch based on the field of physics

    I was thinking about an idea of a calendar epoch based on the field of physics, and its thinking about which event should be used as the epoch so I have this idea and just wondering what you guys might think about it I initially landed upon two ideas, one pretty ancient and the other kinda...
  7. A

    I Thinking about equality of infinite sets

    I am reading an abstract algebra textbook and enjoying it. I am working through preliminaries some more to refine my knowledge on proofs with sets before really digging in. I understand that if $$X \subseteq Y$$ and $$ Y \subseteq X$$ Then $$ X = Y$$ This makes sense to me. However, the...
  8. BillTre

    A Nice history of Evolutionary Thinking

    This guy presents a nice quick history of where evolutionary thought came from, starting well before Darwin. I thought it was nicely done.
  9. S

    News What animals are thinking and feeling, and....

    I am not sure exactly which subforum this should be put into, and not sure what title to give this topic, but this video is interesting, called What animals are thinking and feeling and why should it matter. The video's link: .. .. Okay, some time passage, and I watched several more...
  10. frost_zero

    Exploring the Impact of Experiences on Thinking

    Do we really "think" our thoughts or are they just influenced by our experiences with no actual control given to us; or if we do take our own decisions then is the process similar to how computers return true/false values (if, else, else if, etc.)?
  11. jaketodd

    I Can Thinking Fast Slow Down Time in Relativity?

    In a stressful situation, when you're thinking rapidly, time really does seem to slow down. Like "that was the longest 30 seconds of my life." Since thinking is made up of the firing of action potentials in neurons, could those events, in the brain, work with relativity to slow down personal...
  12. A

    B Projectile motion — Thinking about forces on a curve ball

    When a ball is thrown such that it moves in a curved trajectory in the horizontal plane, it amuses me to think of its dynamics. In motion of a ball thrown upwards the force of gravity gives it a parabolic trajectory However when the ball is thrown to curve and hit a target, (in the horizontal...
  13. This Is Me

    Unanswered: Unraveling the Mystery of Extended Thinking

    This is an extended thinking portion in my textbook, and I would really like to know why this is. I'm not too sure what the answer to this is, and unfortunately, there is no answer to extended thinking in my textbook. I've been trying to figure this out for some time now and I'm completely stumped.
  14. pinball1970

    Critical thinking skills and belief in conspiracy theory

    This is the article. This is not the usual sort of study I read but given the last 16 months, I thought I would post and see what pf guys thought of the method and conclusions. The line of best fit in the results seemed a bit random to me but let's see what you make of it...
  15. K

    What is the geometric approach to mathematical research?

    I read this article History of James Clerk Maxwell and it talks about Maxwell and Dirac also at some point. It is said that Maxwell thought geometrically, and also Dirac said he thought of de Sitter Space geometrically. They say their approach to mathematics is geometric. I see this mentioned...
  16. H

    Is My Thinking Reasonable: A's Impact on Oscillator Motion

    I just want to check if my thinking is reasonable. Since B,C and D are all dependent or fixed by the oscillator, A is the only factor to affect the amplitude of the motion at resonance or even throughout the entire process?
  17. T

    How can visualizing abstract spaces aid in understanding mathematical concepts?

    Hello. How to think in abstract spaces?Like manifolds? Or metric spaces? Or function or Banach spaces? Are they not just generalisations of the usual 2d or 3d Euclidean spaces we know? So they could be studied by generalising or extending things we know from 2d or 3d euclidean spaces and if they...
  18. K

    Other Is Freelancing Feasible Without Experience?

    So I've been teaching myself how to code for the past year or so and I was thinking about doing freelancing. Since I have no experience is me being a freelancer feasible?
  19. P

    Questioning My Thinking: A Reflection

    I started to do this, but I'm not sure my thinking is good.
  20. SamRoss

    B Is my intuitive way of thinking about non-Euclidean geometry valid?

    I always tend to get confused when thinking about non-Euclidean geometry and what straight lines and parallel lines are. If I think of a sphere, I get how two people driving north would almost mysteriously intersect at the North Pole and how the angles of a triangle would not add up to 180...
  21. A

    Is there a key to thinking more mathematically?

    Are there some fundamentals or elements for thinking mathematically? Thanks
  22. E

    Is thinking about "possession" of electrons a bad habit for dealing with formal charges?

    This isn't a specific question, but more a case of trying to mitigate any potential confusion which might arise in the future. When drawing out curly arrows for mechanisms, and the like, I'm used to thinking about which electrons "belong" to certain atoms (in a book-keeping sense) in order to...
  23. D

    Should the public know what you are thinking and concluding?

    I am an old man now of 72 who has been a continual student of just about everything except notably mathematics and chemistry. To provide a frame of reference, I received a D in Chemistry, (who would want to memorize a lot of symbols in high school--give me a break!), a C in Physics, (all I...
  24. S

    Thinking of a PhD based on undergrad research experience

    Hi everyone, I am a final-year undergraduate in Physics. I actually created this account purely to ask for some advice. I have been considering pursuing a physics PhD ever since my first year, but my current experience in my final-year project (FYP) has been difficult and I'm wondering if this...
  25. E

    Engineering Thinking about switching my PhD program

    Hello everyone I've recently started a PhD program at a pretty respected university even though I wouldn't want to disclose the exact field. My background is in physics and electrical/electronic engineering (BSc in both, MSc in Electronic Engineering). After I graduated with my MSc I got hired...
  26. archaic

    B Thinking about the mean value theorem without geometry

    Hello guys, is it possible to "see" the mean value theorem when one is only thinking of numerical values without visualizing a graph? Perhaps through a real world problem?
  27. jedishrfu

    Creative Thinking in Solving a Problem

    So many times we use tried and true methods to solve problems that we never see the more creative and fanciful solutions that are staring us in the face. The barometer story is one such example: http://www.mrao.cam.ac.uk/~steve/astrophysics_07/webpages/barometer_story.htm Another is the Hades...
  28. N

    Do chemists think differently than physicists?

    Summary: Do chemists think differently than physicists? And should I Change my subject in University... Hey guys, I'm asking myself this question in hoping to find myself in life… some advice and ideas would be really helpful. I'm from Europe and I'm actually studying chemistry. I still Need...
  29. R

    Help critique my problem solving and thinking process (problem included)

    Hello all, thanks for reading my post! I'm posting as I need help with my problem solving and thinking approach. For the most part I can figure out how to set up the problem and what I need to find, but my problem lies in textbook questions that rely more on seeing a more math based approach to...
  30. D

    How we can explain our process of thinking by physics?

    How can we explain our process of thinking by physics?
  31. R

    Why is my thinking incorrect? -- Block and spring driven by a motor

    Homework Statement An oscillator consists of a block attached to a spring (k=400n/m). At some time t, the position (from equilibrium), velocity, and acceleration of the block are x= .100m, v= -13.6m/s, a= -123m/s^2. What is the frequency? mass of block? amplitude. Homework Equations position...
  32. Grinkle

    B Conundrum thinking about crossing an Event Horizon

    Folks usually point out that tidal forces make questions like the one I am asking below hypothetical at best, I understand that. I am taking as an axiom that a free-falling observer observes nothing unusual when crossing an event horizon. More strongly, the free-falling observer cannot detect...
  33. Jazzyrohan

    I Time Dilation Explained: Feynman Lectures 15-4

    Feynman Lectures 15-4 Transformation of time first para http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/I_15.html How is it possible that the moving clock slows down and also shows more time elapsed to the man outside?
  34. Math Amateur

    MHB Definition of Connectedness .... What's wrong with my informal thinking ....?

    I am reading "Multidimensional Real Analysis I: Differentiation" by J. J. Duistermaat and J. A. C. Kolk ... I am focused on Chapter 1: Continuity ... ... I need help with an aspect of D&K's definition of disconnectedness/connectedness ... ... Duistermaat and Kolk's definition of...
  35. Aaron M

    Thinking about getting an MSc in CS

    Hello all, I have recently graduated with a BSc in physics and have been accepted into the MSc program for Applied Physics. However, due to the job outlook for the position I actually want to do I am deeply interested in pursuing my second interest, which is, AI. Question: My main question is...
  36. T

    Physics Thinking of dropping out of PhD program, need advice

    Grad school is *not* what I was hoping it would be. I wanted to study GR and was fortunate enough to get accepted in a program with an advisor who is a gravity theorist. I have the best fellowship awarded to grad students at my school. I passed all my prelims on my first try. My grades...
  37. T

    Physics Medical physicist thinking of moving to US

    Hi all, I'm just home from a trip around the US and I've fallen in love with some of the beach towns just south of LA. I'm currently working as a medical physicist in Ireland. Two years ago I completed the UK medical physics training scheme and have UK state registration. Having done a search...
  38. K

    I Questions I have been thinking of regarding black holes

    So, as one does, I have been pondering the nature of the universe and specifically black holes. I apologize for the rambling nature of this post...I haven't really put it into a coherent format because time is a bit limited. Also, English is not my first language and I apologize for any...
  39. R

    Engineering Thinking about my future job prospects in Nuclear Engineering (not a US citizen)

    I've mentioned my admission to MS Nuclear Engineering in the University of Florida earlier. Thing is I am a foreigner. What with all the security most countries have surrounding nuclear technology, would I be limiting myself in the number of parties I can work with? I am aware I have other...
  40. Mathsway

    Textbook of "introduction to mathematical thinking"

    Hi everyone I was wondering does anyone know any good first year undergraduate textbook of 'introduction to mathematical thinking' for self-studying ? thks in advance
  41. arupel

    A Any thinking in applying evolutionary algorithms to fusion?

    Has any thinking be done in applying evolutionary programs (cellular automata with a purpose) to fusion. It would seem that the current methods that can be applied are few. Evolution, itself, has been described as the dumbest way of realizing the smartest methods of achieving its goals...
  42. FallenApple

    I Thinking about the static electric field in terms of QFT

    So according to classical electrodynamics, an electron would produce an electric field that is a physical entity in and of itself. This field has momentum so when a test charge is placed within this vicinity, it would be affected by the field itself, not the electron. But what about the QFT way...
  43. UsableThought

    My review of Coursera's "Intro to Mathematical Thinking"

    Here's a review I just posted on CourseTalk.com (a review site for online courses, including MOOCs) of "Introduction to Mathematical Thinking," which runs on Coursera: IN A NUTSHELL: This MOOC has excellent content, but the Coursera platform and absence of an instructor undermine it. DETAILS...
  44. Math Amateur

    MHB Understanding Irreducible Elements in Integral Domains - Peter's Questions

    Joseph A. Gallian, in his book, "Contemporary Abstract Algebra" (Fifth Edition) defines an irreducible element in a domain as follows ... (he also defines associates and primes but I'm focused on irreducibles) ... I am trying to get a good sense of this definition ... My questions are as...
  45. Math Amateur

    MHB Thinking about the Definition of a Unit of a ring R .... ....

    I have been thinking around the definition of a unit in a ring and trying to fully understand why the definition is the way it is ... ... Marlow Anderson and Todd Feil, in their book "A First Course in Abstract Algebra: Rings, Groups and Fields (Second Edition), introduce units in a ring with 1...
  46. Math Amateur

    I Thinking about the Definition of a Unit of a ring R .... ....

    I have been thinking around the definition of a unit in a ring and trying to fully understand why the definition is the way it is ... ... Marlow Anderson and Todd Feil, in their book "A First Course in Abstract Algebra: Rings, Groups and Fields (Second Edition), introduce units in a ring with 1...
  47. G

    I'm thinking about 2nd Ph.D. for particle physics

    Hello. I'm actually taking Ph.D. course for plasma physics and I think I'll finish this course within this year. I took classes in quantum field theory and general relativity in last semester luckily and experience of these subject ignited a desire to study theoretical particle physics and...
  48. secur

    I No Special Reason for Thinking Consciousness Special in QM

    There's no question that MWI is an important part of QM, whether we agree with it or not. And consciousness is essential for MWI, it can't be defined without it. For instance, Stanford Encyclopedia https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-manyworlds/#2.2 says: ***********************************...
  49. Dadface

    Where is the Box? Exploring the Concept of Thinking Outside the Box

    We're often told that it's helpful to think outside the box. But what is the box we need to think outside of? And what happens when we think inside the box? I've been searching everywhere for the box but I can't find it. Has anybody got it? o0)
  50. ChrisisC

    Physics What is it like to experience math in physics?

    I'm a 15 year old sophomore in high school who absolutely loves physics (more of quantum mechanics and Einsteins theories of relativity and how it is incorporated into everyday life). I want to grow up and be a Physicist and that's all i would like to do because nothing fascinates me quite like...