Website owner:  James Miller

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Careless, sloppy thinking

I believe that the vast majority of people are careless, sloppy thinkers. Careless, sloppy thinking is the easy way, the common way, the natural way. Careful, exact thinking is not natural and not the usual. A precise mind is not something one is born with. Precision of thought is not some inherent trait. It is a trait developed by effort, self-discipline and practice. And also by the habit of thoughtfulness and reflection. How does one acquire clarity and precision in thought? Much study in the exact sciences is a recipe leading to exact thinking. This is true especially of the study of mathematics. If one does not think with great care and precision in mathematics one will get nowhere. He will fail. If one wants to be successful in understanding mathematics one must force himself to think carefully. I can remember a time in my youth when I was attempting to rid myself of careless thinking habits and train myself in rigorous, careful thinking.

Carelessness and imprecision of thought and carelessness and nebulousness of language are closely connected. The mind is the source of language. Language mirrors the mind. An orderly, organized, knowledgeable, understanding, disciplined mind yields precision and clarity in language. A lazy, undisciplined, ignorant mind yields laxness and imprecision in language.

Aug 2016

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