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This is another of those commonplace words which are as crucial to education as to life, but which are so various and so elusive it is hard to be sure what they mean. To begin with, one can say that thought and thinking cover everything which happens in the mind: reasoning, feeling, dreaming, analysing, meditating, doubting, cogitating … the list goes on for ever. Yet it can make perfectly good sense for someone to say to us, ‘When I did that, I wasn't really thinking’.

So ‘really thinking’ perhaps indicates a more conscious and applied activity of the mind than images and impressions just drifting through one's head. Thought of this kind has a subject, or perhaps preferably, it has an object. Now at once ...

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