Distinguishing Between Thinking & Reasoning

Key Difference – Thinking vs Reasoning

Thinking and reasoning are two distinct mental processes. While thinking refers to a broad range of thought production, which can be either conscious or unconscious, reasoning is limited to the conscious production of mental thought using logic. The key difference between the two is that thinking is not always logical or conscious, whereas reasoning is.

What is Thinking?

Thinking is a mental process that produces thoughts. It is studied in various academic disciplines, such as philosophy, psychology, biology, and neurology. All humans have the capacity to think, although the process of thought production and its purpose are still debated. Thoughts allow people to organize their ideas and feelings and can be considered one of the basic factors underlying human behavior. Thinking helps us make sense of the world and interpret it in our own way. According to psychologists, thinking can be a conscious process or an unconscious process. Cognitive psychology focuses on thinking and thought processes and studies how these processes change as individuals reach different stages in life, from childhood to adulthood.

What is Reasoning?

Reasoning is a mental process that can be considered a subprocess of thinking. The key difference between reasoning and thinking is that reasoning is always a conscious process that requires logic. A person who reasons uses various facts related to a particular issue and tries to logically comprehend and find a solution to that issue. Reasoning is closely associated with ideas such as good and bad, truth and falsehood, and cause and effect. It allows us to identify an action and analyze whether it is positive or negative, beneficial or detrimental based on available facts and logic. However, psychologists point out that when reasoning, people are not always dominated by the facts themselves but can be influenced by cultural elements as well. Reasoning is especially helpful when we face problems or make decisions, as it allows us to weigh the pros and cons and choose the best option.

Key Takeaways

  • Thinking is a mental process that produces thoughts, while reasoning is a mental process that uses logic.
  • Thinking can be either conscious or unconscious, whereas reasoning is always a conscious effort.
  • Logic does not play a key role in thinking but plays a key role in reasoning.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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