Thought: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199601721

Tim Bayne
144 Pages
113 x 174 mm
Pub date
Jan 2013
Very Short Introductions


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  • A lively and accessible introduction to the nature of thought
  • Establishes the fundamental differences between thought and other mental states
  • Explores and highlights our amazing capacity for thought
  • Looks at the interaction between thought, rationality, and our concept of the abstract

There is no denying that thinking comes naturally to human beings. But what are thoughts? How is thought realized in the brain? Does thinking occur in public or is it a purely private affair? Do young children and non-human animals think? Is human thought the same everywhere, or are there culturally specific modes of thought? What is the relationship between thought and language? What kind of responsibility do we have for our thoughts? 
In this compelling Very Short Introduction, Tim Bayne looks at the nature of thought. Beginning with questions about what thought is and what distinguishes it from other kinds of mental states, he goes on to examine various interpretations of thought from philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology. 
By exploring the logical structures of thought and the relationship between thought and other mental phenomena, as well as the mechanisms that make thought possible and the cultural variations that may exist in our thought processes, Bayne looks at what we know - and don't know - about our great capacity for thought. 


1: What is thought?
2: The mechanical mind
3: The inner sanctum
4: Of brutes and babes
5: 'They don't think like we do'
6: Thought gone wrong
7: The ethics of thought
8: The limits of thought

About the author: 

Tim Bayne is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Manchester. He has taught at the University of Canterbury, Macquarie University, and the University of Oxford. His main interests are in the philosophy of psychology, with a particular focus on consciousness. A native of New Zealand, he divides his time between Manchester and Geneva.

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