Skip main navigation

Thinking and Feeling

Watch Prof Mark Solms explain the distiction between thinking and feeling.

The distinction between thinking and feeling is absolutely fundamental to understanding the mind. In this course, I argue that feelings represent problems, needs or demands upon the mind to perform work. Feelings make us aware that something unexpected, unpredictable or unsolved is occurring.

When I say that feelings represent demands upon the mind to perform work, what I really mean is that they represent demands on thinking. The mind in this colloquial sense that Iā€™m using, should be referred to as thinking. Feelings come first and thoughts are ways of dealing with the feelings – ways of as it were – thinking our way out of the feelings, finding a solution that meets the need that lies behind the feeling. I say they come first in the hierarchical or developmental sense, in that first we have feelings.

This article is from the free online

What is a Mind?

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now