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.
Michael Jang says
This explanation of the difference seems to me very inaccurate. The main difference that I can think of is that of temporality. Thoughts to me are much less permanent than ideas, but that said, the two words are generally interchangeable. But the notion that an idea is tied to a plan of action entirely erroneous.
What’s more, the claims “A thought is a piece of reasoning produced by thinking” vs. “An idea on the other hand refers to a conception or a plan formed by mental effort” are saying pretty much the same thing, and do not really distinguish one from the other in any clear and generally applicable sense.
Rabah N. Hadi says
Very nice opinion, but simply from my hample point of view it is a matter of use and not clear-cut boundary between them and they are to some extent overlapped. Your point of temporality can be an addition to the above speech.