Exploring conceptual thinking and pure concepts from a first person perspective
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Traditionally, conceptual thinking is explored via philosophical analysis or psychological experimentation. We seek to complement these mainstream approaches with the perspective of a first person exploration into pure thinking. To begin with, pure thinking is defined as a process (how we think) and differentiated from its content (what we think about), the concepts itself. Pure thinking is an active process and not a series of associative thought-events; we participate in it, we immerse ourselves within its active performance. On the other hand, concepts are also of an experiential nature. And yet, little is known about what is it like to have or produce a thought, a concept, or an idea? Is a concept our own construction, a product of our own activity, or is it something we merely discover instead of producing it? We address these issues in a systematic first person enquiry into pure thinking.
KeywordsActive conceptual thinking Pure concepts Process account of thinking First person approach Reflection of thinking Phenomenological analysis
We thank Fergus Anderson, Christopher Gutland, Christian Tewes and the two anonymous referees for helpful comments that worked towards an improvement of our paper. We would like to thank the Software AG Stiftung for supporting this project.
Both authors made substantial contributions to the conception and the design of the work; RZ made the first draft, UW has been revising it critically for important intellectual content; both RZ and UW gave final approval of the version to be published. RZ and UW both agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
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