It seems everybody has assignments coming out their ears at this time of year, but then it seems someone will always be complaining about assignments at some time! Since this is my blog, I feel free to whinge and whine, rant and rave!

So, I just want to tell you about the 7 hours I spent last night doing a 10% logic assignment. I was never paying it my full attention at the beggining, thinking I’d be done in a few hours. i must concede, since I have done no work in this class so far, I had to recap and do a little revision…. and then I actually got interested in one question in the assignment:

We where required to evaluate the following definition of the underlined word according to the logical rules of definition (to follow) and provide an alternative definition that does not break the rules of definition that the current definition does.

Let me know what you think – rules provided below with my alternative definition.

Thinking is purposeful mental activity whose goal is to avoid error.”

Rule 1: All definitions must have a genus and differentia.
Rule 2: A definition should be neither too broad nor too narrow
Rule 3: A definition should state the essential attributes of the concepts referents.
Rule 4: A definition should not be circular

Rule 5: A definition should not use negative terms unnecessarily.

Rule 6: A definition should not use vague, obscure or metaphorical language

My Alternative definition.
“Thinking is a conscious mental process to purposefully combine thoughts so we can make the best decisions.”

Note: I found the original definition broke rules: 2 & 5, and arguably 6.

4 thoughts on “Thinking!

  1. Rule 2: A definition should be neither too broad nor too narrow.To test this, we ask two types of questions. 1)Is all thinking purposeful mental activity whose goal is to avoid error? This implies we ask;Is all thinking a mental activity.Is all thinking purposeful.Is all thinking is to avoid error?If I were to think about nothing, would it be purposeful? Yes. Its purpose would be to give me peace of mind, or enable me to sleep, or to prove the definition is invalid.If I were to think about deliberately making a mistake, my intention is to deceive or to make a mistake, and I would thus be thinking of how to avoid the error of not making a mistake.However, we often think about things which are not black and white, decisions we make are often so complex that there is no correct or incorrect answer, only degrees of correctness. Ethical decisions are often like this. If no error exists, then how can we think about avoiding it? This can be negated by the fact that a slightly less correct answer would be an error we would be thinking about avoiding. 2)Is all purposeful mental activity whose goal is to avoid error, thinking? Dreaming is a mental activity, but is it purposeful and is its goal to avoid error? Dreaming can be attributed to two major causes – psychological or biological. Psychological dreams often have a purpose – to warn us, or tell us something that we have unconsciously noticed but aren’t yet consciously aware of. Biological dreams have no purpose – they are just a product of our mind, a chemical reaction that occurs when we sleep. Whilst psychological dreams have a purpose (to communicate between the unconscious and the conscious mind) the goal of the dream is much harder to identify. It is arguable that at least on some occasions the goal of the dream is to avoid an error that a lack of communication between the conscious and unconscious mind may create.From this, I conclude that the definition is both too broad and too narrow. Which, according to our logic instructor – is ok! Amazing!

  2. I think both definitions assume:a)that thinking is a purposeful actb)that thinking is about making decisionsc) that we expect an outcome from thinkingI don’t know if it’s just me and my anarchic brain but I often indulge in aimless/fruitless thought. Also I’m not sure if all acts of thinking are entirely conscious. Depends on how much discipline we have over our thought processes… I guess – I mean… I think!Cheers all!

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