Cognition, casually put, is the sum total of all mental processes in the brain.
However, we need to be more precise. We not only have to adequately define cognition, we need to distinguish it from thought and from reasoning. Referring to the Encyclopedia Britannica and to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a useful partition is exposed.
- Cognition, the process involved in knowing, or the act of knowing.
- Cognition includes all processes of consciousness by which knowledge is accumulated, such as perceiving, recognizing, conceiving, and reasoning.
- Put differently, cognition is an experience of knowing that can be distinguished from an experience of feeling or willing. ? consider exclusion?
- Thought is covert symbolic responses to stimuli.
- These stimuli may be from within (memories) or from the environment.
- Thought, or thinking, is considered to mediate between inner activity and external stimuli.
- There are uses of the word thinking or thought that are not used here. For instance, in casual conversation, the word thinking covers other distinct psychological activities—tending to believe or degree of attentiveness “I did it without thinking” or whatever is in consciousness, “It made me think of my grandmother”.
- In Mental Construction, the concentration is on the psychologist’s usage—thinking as an intellectual exertion aimed at finding an answer to a question or the solution of a practical problem.
- That leaves perception to cognition.
- Reasoning consists of the derivation of inferences or conclusions from a set of premises by means of the application of logical rules or laws.
- Psychologists as well as philosophers typically distinguish between two main kinds of reasoning: deduction and induction.
- Deductive inferences are guaranteed 100% true if the premises are 100% true, while inductive inferences may be false.
- One may wonder why anyone would use induction. The answer is that deduction is barren of results outside the scope of its premises, while induction can generate new results, sometimes correct although at times incorrect.
- For more than a hundred years, the term logic has meant deductive logic.
- Induction, in the academic world, has been ostracized to creative arts, except for its slot in the scientific method as the source of hypotheses, where it is granted a mysterious, creative operation that is often wondered about rather than understood.
- Inductive inferences are derived by analogy and similarity. Mental Construction will show its reach is broader than strictly supplying hypotheses and creative art works.
In the digging to see what we reason about, we will have to consider some groundwork first.
Sources of Thought
We all know that much more in our minds, in our brains that mere sense perception. Successive abstraction marches our perceptions up a concept elevation into our mental worldview.
Each passage over an Almost Gate involves a loss of fidelity. Let’s discuss the cumulative loss from sense data to worldview.
Finally, we get to reasoning. Since logic has consumed so much attention, we will take it for granted in Mental Construction and focus on the import of the non-step-by-step reasoning of patterns and similarity. Emotions and personality, in addition to being essential in the categorization of premises and the determination of our goals, will be investigated on its effect on reasoning’s efficiency.
Source of Thoughts
Senses together with emotions and knowledge
Reasoning has two components