By the end of this module you should be able to:
- describe the problems in establishing the relationship between
thought and language
- explain some of the research evidence used in the argument
about whether thought influences language or vice versa
- describe a theory of the neurological basis of thought
- describe concepts (both well- and ill-defined) and properties
- explain the relevance of prototypes in learning new concepts
- recognise two different forms of reasoning: inductive and
- define some of the common errors that occur when deductive and
inductive methods are used by humans
- explain why we have problems in making rational decisions.
You probably feel reasonably confident that you know what the
word 'thought' means, and that you can use it correctly. However on
closer inspection it turns out to be a slippery concept which is
difficult to pin down. We will consider different types of thought
and a model of the neurological basis for thought processes.
The close relationship of thought to language will be discussed,
particularly whether it is language that dominates thought or
thought that dominates language.
We will then find out why we use concepts and see how they are
related to properties. We will look at the difference between
well-defined and poorly defined concepts.
Finally, we will consider reasoning. In the classical
philosophical sense there are two broad forms of reasoning:
deductive and inductive. We will look at both of these and evaluate
their relation to how people actually think, before exploring some
of the common human errors in reasoning.
We recommend that you make some notes as you work
through this module.
The 'TrOn Notebook' facility can be accessed throughout the
module (allowing you to make notes on each page), and these notes
will be saved in your personal area 'My TrOn', for future
reference. However, you will not be able to print these notes as
one single document.
If you would prefer to make your notes in a separate document
you may wish to download the 'learning notes' below. This
downloadable Word document will allow you to keep a personalised
record of your learning, which you can then save and/or print for
Download the learning notes
document for this module