Thinking of "thought" is a challenging subject because the meaning of the
word is likely to evolve during the reflexion! In my opinion, 'thought'
and 'mental object' are different concepts which should not be confused.
A mental object is not a representation like a picture or a 3-D image; it is
rather a dynamic product the brain synthesizes as the result of
interference between various influences. Neurons are marvellous coincidence
detectors: a single output pulse propagating along an axone may mean that
ten thousand signals are simultaneously converging on its dendritic tree!
Imagine now a set of 6 or 7 such neurons operating like this in succession:
the resulting pulse is 1 out of 10 ... followed by 24 (or 28) zeros! This
makes a very effective filter because any missing or asynchron pulse along
the descending chain will change the shape (or the place or the time slot)
of the final output signal. Many similar neuronal chains works in parallel
in the cortex. Other coincidence detectors take care of selecting neuronal
groups pulsating in synchrony.
But this is not enough for thought to emerge ...
- Consciousness is required, and a memory capability also, because thinking
needs for words. Words are agreed 'descriptors-assemblors' mobilizing
neurons assemblies, passing them operational and 'emotional' parameters .
Some navigation tools must also be present, so that the process is granted
autonomy. Finally (for to-day only!), thinking must be a reflexive process
so as to avoid redundancy and stay coherent.
- How do we define a 'thought' ??
- As a never-ending evolutive conscious process that brain uses for
synthesizing mental objects and their relationships.