Thinking: its essence and basic forms, What is thinking? - Philosophy

Thinking: its essence and basic forms

What is thinking?

A person always thinks about something, even when it seems to him that he does not think about anything. A thoughtless state, as psychologists say, is a state in the essence of its maximally relaxed, but still thoughts, at least about not thinking about anything. From sensory cognition, from the establishment of facts, the dialectical path of cognition leads to logical thinking. Thinking is a purposeful, mediated and generalized reflection by a person of essential properties and relationships of things. Creative thinking is aimed at obtaining new results in practice, science, technology. Thinking is an active process aimed at posing problems and solving them.

Inquiry is an essential sign of a thinking person. The transition from sensation to thought has its objective basis in the bifurcation of the object of knowledge into the inner and outer, the essence and its manifestation, into a separate and general. After all, it is impossible to build a building of scientific and philosophical knowledge from sensory sensations and representations and their combination, as sensualism tries to do: all sensory perceptions, despite their color and vitality, are extremely poor in content: they do not penetrate the essence of the matter.

Common in things is first of all a law, essential properties and relationships, and they do not exist externally as a separate object, they are not directly perceived. The external aspects of things and phenomena are reflected primarily and primarily through living contemplation, empirical cognition, and the essence common in things - with the help of concepts, logical thinking. In thinking, in concepts there is already no direct connection with things. We can also understand things that we can not perceive.

The special arrangement of our sense organs and their small number therefore do not set an absolute limit to our knowledge that they are joined by the activity of theoretical thinking. "The eye sees far away, and the thought is even farther," says the popular saying. Our thought, overcoming the appearance of phenomena, their external appearance, penetrates into the depth of the object, into its essence. Proceeding from the data of sensory and empirical experience, thinking can actively correlate the testimony of the senses with all the knowledge already available in the head of this individual, moreover, with all the accumulated experience, knowledge of mankind, and to the extent that they became the property of the person, and solve practical and theoretical problems, penetrating through phenomena into the essence of an increasingly deeper order.

Logical means to be subordinate to rules, principles and laws, by which thought moves to truth, from one truth to another, deeper. Rules, laws of thinking constitute the content of logic as spiders. These rules and laws are not inherently inherent in thinking itself. Logical laws are a generalized reflection of objective relations of things on the basis of practice. The degree of perfection of human thinking is determined by the measure of the correspondence of its content to the content of objective reality. Our mind is disciplined by the logic of things reproduced in the logic of practical actions, and by the whole system of spiritual culture. The real process of thinking unfolds not only in the head of an individual person, but also in the bosom of the whole history of culture. The logicality of thought with the reliability of the initial assumptions is to a certain extent a guarantee not only of its correctness, but also of truth. This is the great cognitive power of logical thinking.

Clarification of what logical thinking is, it is best to start with an example from the history of science. The French scientist, the founder of modern microbiology and immunology Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), studying the anthrax, for a long time could not understand how pets become infected with this disease in pastures. For him, it remained unclear where the bacilli of anthrax appeared on the surface of the earth. It was known that people buried corpses of dead animals (because of fear of infecting other animals) deep into the earth. Passing through a compressed field once, Pasteur noticed that one part of the earth is colored lighter than the rest. The companion explained to him that it was at this site that a sheep had been buried, which had fallen from anthrax. Pasteur's attention was drawn to the fact that there were many walks of earthworms and earthy excrement on this site. Pasteur had the idea that earthworms, creeping out from the depths of the earth and carrying with them anthrax spores, are the carriers of this disease. So, Pasteur indirectly, through a mental comparison of sensory impressions, penetrated into something that was hidden from perception. Further experiments and observations confirmed the correctness of his conclusions. This is a typical example of theoretical thinking. Pasteur did not directly perceive the cause of infection of domestic animals with anthrax. He learned about the relevant reason indirectly - through other facts, i.e. indirectly.

The first essential sign of thinking is that it is a process of mediated knowledge of objects. This mediation can be very complex, multi-stage. Thinking is mediated primarily by the sensory form of cognition, often the symbolic content of images, by language. On the basis of visible, audible and tangible people penetrate into the unknown, inaudible and intangible. It is on such mediated knowledge that science is built.

What is the basis for the possibility of mediated knowledge? The objective basis of the mediated process of cognition is the presence of mediated connections in the world. For example, the cause-effect relationship makes it possible to conclude on the basis of the perception of the effect on the cause, and on the basis of the knowledge of the cause, to foresee the effect. The mediated nature of thinking also lies in the fact that man learns reality not only on the basis of his personal experience, but also takes into account the historically accumulated experience of all mankind. In the process of thinking, a person in the stream of his thoughts involves the threads from the canvas of the general stock of knowledge in his head about the most diverse things, from all the experience accumulated by life. And often the most incredible comparisons, analogies and associations can lead to solving an important practical and theoretical problem. Theorists can successfully extract scientific results about things that they may never have seen. For example, on the basis of a single sophisticated device of logical thinking, A. Einstein derived the law of the equivalence of mass and energy purely logically-chalk on a board and a pencil on a piece of paper.

In life, not only theorists think, but also practice. Practical thinking is aimed at solving specific particular problems, whereas theoretical thinking is aimed at finding common laws. If theoretical thinking is focused primarily on the transition from sensation to thought, idea, theory, then practical thinking is primarily directed towards the realization thoughts, ideas, theories to life. Practical thinking is directly involved in practice and is constantly exposed to its controlling influence. Theoretical thinking is subject to practical verification not in every link, but only in the final results. Practical and theoretical thinking is a single process. They are present in any scientific study at any stage of it. However, due to various reasons, these types of thinking do not always coincide in the same person with the same completeness. The history of the spider is known to brilliant experimenters and no less brilliant theoreticians and vice versa. In science there is, to a certain extent, the division of labor between scientists - experimenters and theorists. Both require specific skills, education, a system of knowledge and what is called a mind-set.

Thinking is the subject of many sciences: the theory of knowledge, logic, psychology, the physiology of higher nervous activity, to some extent aesthetics, studying the artistic form of thinking, and also to a certain degree of general linguistics, which studies the connection between language and thought in their historical development. The unity of the theory of knowledge, which studies the general methods of cognition and the relation of knowledge, thinking to objective reality, and the logical aspects of thought, taking into account the psychology of creativity and the achievements of all scientific knowledge, found its most complete reflection in general philosophical logic.

Logic fulfills an important role of the general methodology of sciences: it is a general doctrine of historical development, self-movement of the object of knowledge and its reflection in thought, in the movement of concepts. No matter how deeply, , he thinks according to the laws of logic, provided the correct course of thought, without violating any of its principle. The colossal complexity of the problems facing modern science and technology required intensive development of logic, bringing the logical apparatus of thinking in line with greatly increased requirements, especially cybernetic technology. This vital need led to the emergence of new trends in logic - many-valued, probabilistic and other logical disciplines; brought together formal logic with mathematics and brought to life mathematical logic.

The connection between the processes of the objective world, their development represent a kind of "logic of things", objective logic. This logic is reflected in our thinking in the form of a connection of concepts - this is subjective logic, the logic of thinking. The logic of our thoughts is conditioned by the fact that we connect things in them as they are connected in reality itself. Since reality is dialectical, so should the logic of human thinking.

There is unity between thinking and being. The real basis of the unity of thinking and being is social practice, in the process of which logical forms and laws of thought are created. The difference between logical regularities and objective general laws of the development of the world consists in the fact that a person can apply logical regularities consciously, whereas in the laws of the development of the world they pave their way unconsciously.

Everything that we know about the world around us eventually came to us through the senses. But they are also the source of some false ideas, for example, ideas about the flat structure of the Earth, the movement of the Sun around the Earth, etc. This often caused a sharp mistrust of the evidence of the senses and the diminishing of their cognitive role by the rationalists, who attribute all the merit of cognition to thinking. The empiricists object to this, arguing that it was thought that generated the most delusions. An animal, say empiricists, can not far evade the ways of nature: its motives lie only in a visual, sensually perceived world where only the possible finds itself. Animals do not invent anything and therefore do not fall into recklessness. A person is given to the victims) to all possible chimeras.

Empiricism, which absolutizes the role of sensory cognition and does not trust abstract theoretical thinking, hinders the development of scientific knowledge. As experts note, ancient mathematicians and philosophers, beginning with the Pythagoreans, opposed the introduction of irrational and sometimes fractional numbers into mathematics, arguing that this was their beloved. These views led the Greeks to deny algebra as a science, which was one of the reasons for the lag in the analytical methods of mathematics up to the Renaissance. The ancients said that there is nothing in thinking that would not be in the senses. Thinking can not do without reliance on sensory elements in the form of visual patterns, circuits, natural and artificial language, etc. Abstractions enter our consciousness through metaphors, allegories, allegories, symbols in which the image clearly points to its idea, as is the case, for example, in the names of works of art: "Petrel", "Groza" and so on

Historically, the way of knowing reality began with a living contemplation, i.e. sensory perception of facts on the basis of practice. From contemplation a person went on to thinking, and from him again to the practice in which he realized his thoughts, verified their truth. This is the path of the historical development of human cognition. The development of spiders and, even more so, modern research is carried out in a different way. The modern scientist, whose thinking has accumulated to some extent the experience of mankind and the categories and laws of the connection of thoughts developed by him, does not begin to study simply with living contemplation. From the very beginning, any scientific research needs guiding ideas. They are a kind of guiding force: without them, the scientist inevitably condemns himself to wandering groping, can not put up any experiments, and he can carry out no observations. At the same time, theoretical thought, even flawless in its logical rigor, can not in itself reveal the laws of the world. For effective movement, it must constantly receive incentives, shocks, facts from the surrounding reality through observation, experiment, i.e. empirical knowledge. When the work of the mind, VIVernadsky said, is deprived of its nourishing juices, a careful and precise study of specific phenomena that only one can expand this framework and measure its correctness and applicability, then the human mind, quickly making all possible movements with few known concrete melon, then goes on to fruitless scholasticism.

Empirical knowledge deals with facts and their description. When it comes to the theoretical processing of empirical material, then, of course, the last one, of course, is not only that the theorist performing this treatment, directly observed with his own eyes and received as a result of his experiments. The theorist subjects to logical processing, explanation of the totality of empirical data obtained by many people and fixed in various media. Empirical knowledge states how the event proceeds. Theoretical knowledge answers the question of why it proceeds in this way and what laws are at its basis.

The thinking of a modern man, who has achieved amazing perfection in the methods of active reflection of reality, is an extremely complex product of the centuries-old development of the cognitive activity of countless generations of people. Thanks to painstaking and persistent efforts in the struggle against nature, each generation tirelessly contributed its feasible contribution to the grandiose building of the culture of human thought. In order to deeply and comprehensively understand the essence of human thinking, to reveal its cognitive role, to study what it is at the moment, it is necessary to find out how it became such. Without a truly scientific development of the history of the development of thinking, there can be no real theory of it.

Historically, the development of thinking has proceeded from concrete, visual-shaped forms to abstract, increasingly abstract forms. Each person's cognition comes from living contemplation to abstract thinking and is a reproduction of the historical path of development of thinking. Specific features of the early stages of development of thinking, characterized by concreteness, clarity, have their expression, for example, in account operations. Primitive man could not carry out an account "in the mind". Before learning to count mentally, people believed with the help of hands, manipulating with specific objects. Account in mind is possible only by operating with abstract units, i.e. subject to abstracting the number of objects from the objects themselves. Primitive people did not possess this ability; they could only consider tangible and visible objects. Words and expressions in their progressive historical development were enveloped in the same sense that the various generations of people who used them used to invest in them. Let us trace, for example, the etymology of the word concept & quot ;. At the early stage of the development of human consciousness, it meant a physical action carried out by hands - to grasp, embrace ("I-ti" - Old United States "take"). Then, as the development of abstraction, this word began to denote the activity of the mind. To understand is to grasp, to grasp with the mind some real relations between objects and phenomena of reality. Currently the term concept expresses itself only the process of mental activity itself-understanding, but also the result of this mental process-a mental image that reflects objects or phenomena in their essential attributes. Man has always sought to present specifically, clearly, something that is not accessible to a concrete perception. Hence the expressions: "acute thought", "fervent imagination", "cold reason", "black design", "deep mind", " etc. The early forms of human thought were sometimes interpreted as detached from the laws of the objective world, as something "impermeable to what we call experience, that is, for the conclusions that the observer can derive from the objective connections between the phenomena ", as something that supposedly has" his own experience, thoroughly mystical ".

It would be wrong to imagine the historical development of primitive, and not only primitive, thinking as a kind of triumphal procession along the path that directly leads to absolute truth. Magic, fetishism, animism, mythology left its imprint on the thoughts and feelings of man. In view of this, people often draw conclusions on the basis of a simple association or accidental coincidence in time and space of two phenomena unrelated to each other by cause and effect, according to the principle: post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore, therefore). But to regard primitive thinking as the continuous realm of mysticism, as the undivided dominance of the illusory reflection of reality, means to interpret thinking not as the greatest factor of the person's orientation in the reality surrounding it, but, on the contrary, to attribute to the thinking the function of disorientation of man that is not characteristic of its nature. This means denying the continuity of the connection between the thinking of early eras and its modern level, their separation by an essentially impassable gulf.

At whatever low level of development human thought might be, it was fundamentally logical, because it more or less correctly reflected the connections between objects and phenomena of the objective world and served as a necessary prerequisite for the expedient activity of man. Primitive thinking, although its rational core was shrouded in many irrational moments, on the whole was logical in nature. It was a natural and necessary link connecting a giant chain of mental development, the beginning of which goes into the depths of the animal kingdom, and the continuation goes back to the scientific thinking of modern man.

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