Monday, January 10, 2011

The thinking process

We could break down the process of what we call thinking into 3 elemantary processes:
1. Analysis 
- how, when, what, where, which , who etc.
2. Comparison
- The most common points of Comparison, for the purpose of discovering "likeness" and "unlikeness," are as follows: Name; Place; Time; Shape; Cause; Effect; Use; Actions; General Idea or Character; History; Origin; and Destination
- Used to build the web network of associations
3. Classification
- Concept formation
- The value of our 'Thought' depends largely upon the correctness of our Concepts
4. Reasoning
- Reasoning presents itself as a short cut to knowledge—a formula by means of which we may acquire knowledge from general principles
(1) Reasoning by Analogy - "If two things resemble each other in many points, they will probably resemble each other in more points"
(2) Reasoning by Induction - "What is true of the many is true of the whole", based on the belief of uniformity of Nature
(3) Reasoning by Deduction- syllogism, "What is true of the whole, is true of its parts"

Here is an extract from the article:
It talks about the comparison phase.

Experience, however, has given the race the almost intuitive and instinctive realization of "the pairs of opposites," or "contradictories." So true is this that the trained mind instinctively leaps to the thought of an "opposite" at the same time that it is considering any given quality. It thinks of this "opposite" not because of its "likeness" to the thing under consideration, but because of its "un-likeness" or difference. So true is this that psychologists hold that we can obtain a clearer and more distinct idea or mental image of anything if we will at the same time think of its "opposite"—either its opposite quality, or a thing whose qualities are markedly opposite to that of the thing under consideration. In associating a thing with others in our memory, or thought, we do so by (1) association with "like" things, and (2) by association with "unlike" ones. The greater the "likeness" the greater is the strength and value of the first form of association; and the greater the "unlikeness" the greater is the strength and value of the second form.

So if you have realized the 'nothingness' state of mind, anything when compared to that is full and complete knowledge giving ultimate satisfaction of 'real knowing'.

Some more interesting points from the article:

- Words do not convey thoughts; they are not vehicles of thoughts in any true sense of that term. A word is merely a common symbol which each person associates with his own idea or image.

- In syllogism, question the major premise and the whole chain is broken

- It is not a sound argument, nor logical reasoning, to appeal from the principle under consideration to the personal practices of the person advocating the practice. For instance, a man arguing the advantages of Temperance may be very intemperate himself; but to point to his intemperate habits is no proof or argument that the principle of Temperance is incorrect. A proposition is either true or untrue, regardless of the personal character of the persons advocating or presenting it.

-"Many persons reason from their feelings rather than from their intellect. They seek and advance not true reasons, but excuses. They seek to prove a thing to be true, simply because they want it to be true. The tendency is to see only those facts which agree with our likes, or are in line with our prejudices; and to ignore the other set of facts. Such persons unconsciously assume the mental attitude which may be expressed as follows: 'If the facts do not agree with my pet theories or prejudices, so much the worse for the facts.'"

-"Nine times out of ten, to argue with any man on a subject that engages his emotions is to waste breath. His mind is not open to logical persuasion. His emotions first determines his opinion and then prompt his logical faculties to devise plausible excuses for it. There is a thing that psychologists call a 'complex.' It consists of an idea charged with emotion, and it operates as a sort of colored screen in front of the mind. A man whose emotions are deeply engaged on one side of a question may think that he is reasoning about it. But, in fact, he may be incapable of reasoning about it, because whatever impressions his mind receives in that connection come through his complex and take no color. His logical faculties operate only by way of inventing plausible defenses for the judgment his emotions have already formed. It is impossible to change his position in any respect by reasoning, because reason cannot touch his mind until his emotions have dealt with it and made it conform to their color. Whenever you talk to a person with a strong bias on any particular subject, which bias does not coincide with your own bias, talk to him about something else."

-  Useful line of thought: "What practical difference will it make if I hold one opinion or another? How will my belief influence my action?' (using the word 'action' in its broadest sense). This may often lead our line of inquiry into more fruitful channels, keep us from making fine but needless distinctions, help us to word our question more relevantly, and lead us to make distinctions where we really need them."

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