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Definition of 'thought'

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"Logical" is ambiguous.  In one sense it refers to explicit premise-and-conclusion deduction by standard rules.  You have to be thinking to be practicing logic in this sense (thinking is a necessary condition of formal logical activity), but most thinking doesn't proceed this way (full-dress logic is not a necessary condition of thinking).  To the extent that we are thinking actively, the process could be described or reconstructed with formal logic whether we realize this or not.


To use a limited analogy, we can use psychological theory to describe the activities of non-human animals or the principals of structural engineering to describe the activities (or non-activities, as one usually hopes) of building parts without claiming that these objects are acting with those principals in mind.


Thus you could rephrase the parenthesis to read "i.e. cognition that could be described or reconstructed as formal deduction".  Better yet, leave the parenthesis out and it's perfect.

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It is a good definition, broad and objective because it does not smuggle in as a hidden premise a standard of what is proper thought, thought well done.


The parenthetical is just an example, one of many others that could be used.  Keeping one's faith in a deity is also objectively a "self-initiated, self-regulated, goal-directed process of cognition."  Keeping that kind of faith has its drawbacks, but it does qualify as a form of thought.  If we did not allow it into the category of thought, then we would have no justification for applying standards and methods for sound thought to faith in deities.

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