Thought or thinking is a brain-dependent, mental process that allows the thinker to generate a model of the external environment. Thought allows the thinker to sort, arrange, classify, identify, and differentiate ideas concerning the external world so as to deal effectively in accord with goals, plans, ends and desires. Concepts akin to thought are sentience, consciousness, idea, and imagination.

Consciousness is a quality of the mind that is generally regarded as comprising qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between self (sensation) and the external environment. Philosophers divide consciousness into phenomenal consciousness (experience itself ) and access consciousness (processing the content of experience).

Any person capable of reading these words knows what it is to experience consciousness. However, consciousness is constructed by the brain and is experienced solely as the construct and not as the mechanism. Similarly, any person reading these words is experiencing visual perception without perceiving the neurophysiological processes that construct visual perception. The reader might be so educated as to understand the mechanisms without ever perceiving the mechanisms per se.

Thus, we cannot be simultaneously perceive the construction (consciousness) and perceive the mechanism by which we assemble the construction. Neuroscientists have deciphered most of the mechanisms, from photon to visual cortex, by which we construct visual perception of the external world. Precise neuroscientific explananations of the specific construction of consciousness are not yet formulated. This lack of a precise model does not provide a logical foundation for biased claims that thought and consciousness are not based in brain-centered neurophysiological processes. This particular piece of illogic would be equivalent to claiming that a person stabbed repeatedly in the back could not be a murder victim simply because the murderer has not yet been identified.

consciousness: an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation

belief: any cognitive content held as true (not necessarily true, merely held as true)

idea: the content of cognition; the main thing you are thinking about.

thinking: the process of using your mind to consider something carefully.

opinion: a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty.

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