What is Abstract Thinking definition/concept

This entry is formed by two concepts: thought and abstract. To understand their joint meaning, one must start with what each one of them means. Abstract Thinking

Thought is the mental activity through which we work out ideas. These ideas allow us to solve problems, make decisions or give our opinion. There is no single way to create thoughts. In this sense, there is inductive, deductive, analytical or creative thinking.

On the other hand, the term abstract comes from the verb to abstract, which means to take something away from something or separate something from some element. This means that the act of abstracting our mind means putting a thought aside. In this way, from various blue objects we abstract or take the idea of ​​blue, as well as from various circular elements we abstract the concept of circle and from the good behavior we have we obtain the idea of ​​goodness. Abstract Thinking

The fundamental idea of ​​abstract thinking from philosophy and psychology

The mental process of our concrete ideas is the fundamental idea of ​​abstract thinking. This process has been analyzed from two perspectives: the philosophical and the psychological.

Philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle reflected on abstract thought. Plato showed that mathematics is based on this type of thinking, since mathematical concepts are elaborations of the intellect obtained by the mind itself without the need for experience (mathematical truths do not require empirical demonstration).

For Aristotle, abstract thinking is based on mental operation, where reason captures the essence of something

Reflections on the nature of abstract thought continued with empiricist approaches (abstraction is based on the observation of reality ) or with rationalist approaches (the capacity for abstraction is a mental faculty independent of experience).

From the point of view of psychology, abstract thinking is the result of the mental evolution of individuals. It is from about 11 years old that people start to deal with abstract thinking or reasoning . Some currents of psychology believe that the key to abstract thinking lies in the role of  language, while others argue that the fundamental element is neural activity.

The practical dimension of abstract thinking

In addition to philosophical or psychological theories, knowledge of abstract thought is related to very specific issues. Thus, through certain tests or psychometric tests it is possible to determine if a child has developed abstract reasoning or if he needs some kind of reinforcement.

Abstract reasoning  exercises are also used to activate the mind in case of strokes or to delay mental decline. Abstract thinking is present in all kinds of situations. For example, when we mentally calculate a discount; when we want to define something or when we try to solve a crossword puzzle.

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