General Character of the Thinking Process. As a departure in the mental life thought seems in its nature to present processes hitherto wanting in our study. Thought, thinking, reasoning, characterize an operation at first sight distinct from imagination, memory, perception. Yet it is from these subordinate operations, considered alone, that thought is distinct, not from the process of apperception, which includes them all.
Thought is not a "power" or "faculty" as held by the old psychology. It is rather the fuller exhibition of the one activity which we find in consciousness. In thought only does the attention, which is limited by the senses in perception, and misled by the range and freedom of reproduction, in imagination, get the upper hand, and follow its own rubrics of independent action. As related to perception, therefore, thought may be called the synthesis of percepts, as perception is the synthesis of sensations; and as related to imagination, it may be called the construction of combinations in accordance with laws of its own, and the laws of external truth; just as imagination is the construction of combinations in accordance with the laws of mental reproduction. For example, we may imagine Samson dead and the temple of the Philistines still stand____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Elements of Psychology. Contributors: James Mark Baldwin - Author. Publisher: H. Holt and Company. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1893. Page number: 205.
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