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Difference Between Idea and Thought

Jun 10th, 2011 | By Aron

Idea vs Thought Idea and Thought are two words that are often confused when it comes to their meanings and connotations. Idea refers to a plan or a process that occurs in the mind in relation to the completion of a work or duty. Thought on the other hand is a mental process that keeps on going in the mind unabated. This is the main difference between the two words idea and thought. Thought paves the way for an idea. This is the truth. Thoughts should combine to form an idea. In other words an idea is formed by the combination of thoughts about a particular problem. Hence you can say that the thought is a subset of idea. Observe the two sentences 1. The thought occurred in my mind. 2. An idea arose in my mind. In the first sentence the use of the word thought is to simply indicate a reason that occurred in the mind. On the other the use of the word idea in the second sentence is to indicate a plan that arose in the mind in relation to the solving of a problem or approaching a problem and the like. This is the difference between the usage of the two words idea and thought. A thought is a piece of reasoning produced by thinking. At times the word refers to a way of thinking that is characteristic to a particular class of people or society as in the expression the medieval European thought or the Western thought. An idea on the other hand refers to a conception or a plan formed by mental effort. In other words it can be said that an idea is nothing but a mental impression or notion or in simple words a concept. These are the differences between idea and thought.

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A thought is more general, it's anything that goes through your mind. An idea serves a purpose, it's a plan, opinion, suggestion, or concept. If I think, "my feet are cold," that is a thought, but not really an idea. If I think, "I should put on some socks because my feet are cold," that's an idea and a thought. Source(s): my opinion

hought Thought may be defined in general as mental activity, conscious or unconscious, based on the various modes of representation, including the most archaic. More narrowly, the meaning of thought may be confined to ideational activity, dependent on the faculty of judgment and on the faculty that brings into conjunction images of things and images of words. The discussion here will be restricted to the narrower conception of thought as ideational activity, but always bear in mind that the narrower meaning is deeply rooted in the more general one. idea It has become more common to think of ideas, or concepts, as dependent upon social and especially linguistic structures, rather than the self-standing creations of an individual mind, but the tension between the objective and the subjective aspect of the matter lingers on, for instance in debates about the possibility of objective knowledge, of indeterminacy in translation, and of identity between the thoughts people entertain at one time and those that they entertain at another. Thought is psychological, and idea is philosophical.

What is the difference between an idea and thought?

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by XT on October 26th, 2009

In the most narrow sense, an idea is just whatever is before the mind when one thinks. Very often, ideas are construed as representational images; i.e. images of some object. In other contexts, ideas are taken to be concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear as images. Many philosophers consider ideas to be a fundamental ontological category of being. The capacity to create and understand the meaning of ideas is considered to be an essential and defining feature of human beings. In a popular sense, an idea arises in a reflex, spontaneous manner, even without thinking or serious reflection, for example, when we talk about the idea of a person or a place. Thought and thinking are mental forms and processes, respectively ("thought" is both). Thinking allows beings to model the world and to deal with it according to their objectives, plans, ends and desires. Words referring to similar concepts and processes include cognition, sentience, consciousness, idea, and imagination.

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John Schinker on February 27, 2010 at 12:22 pm said:

Thought does always precede the idea, even if it's not conscious, sustained, targeted thought. Google Wave is meant to solve a problem. The fact that many people (most people?) don't agree that the problem IS a problem is reflected in the reaction to the tool. But the idea for Wave came out of a problem that the Google designers identified. There's still room for inspiration that Eureka moment when new ideas are born. But even if we're not spending hours/days/years trying to find a solution to a problem, those moments of inspiration are invariable preceded by some recognition of a problem that needs to be solved.The minority faces the uphill struggle of inertia. People are interested in Wave or Buzz because they're already using Google products. Not only is there already a track record of successful Google products, but it's easy perhaps too easy to add another item to the Google toolbox. That's not the same as some new startup that may have found the perfect solution to a fundamental problem, but can't get people to look at it.Looking forward to the last three points in the gist.


Zac Chaseon February 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm said:

I think this line of thinking presupposes an idea must have a purpose. Waveis being rejected because we haven't followed the same thinking as thegoogle designers. It's an idea that came to us without our thinking. It'sasking us to play. It's a kind of, Here, we made this. What can you do withit.Also, I know I'm getting semantic (and I hate it when I read semanticarguments), but I'd argue the unconscious, unsustained, untargeted stuff inour brain isn't what we talk about when we talk about thinking. The closestI can come to it is pondering or maybe daydreaming.For the purposes of this line of thinking, I'm talking about thinking in thesense of, I want you all to think about X. Thanks for drawing that out.I get what you're saying about inerti a. Aren't there many cases of minoritythoughts gaining traction and momentum? I agree with the idea of Googlecounting on the success of its other products leading to the use of its newproducts. Brand loyalty is strong. Still, we're used to choices. If we don'tsee the fit in Wave or Buzz, we'll walk away from them. (And I realize theinherent consumer politics invoked in bringing up Wave, but it was whatstarted me playing with this.) I wonder, though, if the choices make usdull. If an idea asks us to think differently, have we started turning awaybecause we can easily find ideas that make it easier to stay comfortable? Isthat thinking or tradition?In the case of the example of a startup, I think this might be an example ofthinking up a perfect solution to a problem or set of problems we haven'tthought of. Is choice killing our creativity?



aleaness on February 27, 2010 at 12:33 pm said:

I think that I often abandon play or thoughts only to revist when I have developed my thoughts further. I need to mull things over, digest, and then re-engage. I don't always get the endgame at first, or need to create my own edgame. Do we allow that tme for re-engaging with our students or are we just plowing through? Maybe this is what you were saying, I have to think about it more, revisit your thoughts.



Ms. V. on September 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm said:

Google Wave was the developers idea following on their thought. The user had to think in response to these developers idea. I would argue that thinking came first to the users, too because the idea of Wave isnt THEIR idea, though it gave them something to puzzle over and respond to. Perhaps the users idea, which followed, was that they didnt see a purpose for it yet, or maybe in some cases it was an idea about how it might fit into their own lives, or a nove l use for it that went beyond what the developers thought about. I agree that thought may not have to precede ideas or at least, its hard/impossible to prove that thought comes before idea in EVERY case, so Ill go with it but I dont think your example demonstrates this very well.


to use it.

autodizacticon September 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm said:

Whats interesting, is you point to two separate actions (to my mind). The first is the thought->idea movement with the Wave developers. The second (and the one I was working to highlight) was the idea->thought movement on the part of users. They were presented with the idea of Wave and then had to think of how Im resistant to point to where ownership of an idea is situated. The product Wave was that of the developers. Im not sure the successive iterations of Waves use by customers werent at least joint ownership of the idea. Id also say I envision users being presented with the idea of wave, thinking of how to use it, and then creating the idea/use theyd thought of. In this case, its almost cyclical. As I said in the introduction, the ideas of the post were protean. Thanks for asking me to re-examine my thinking and flesh it out a bit more.