Mental Modes or States - A Collection

Indy Neogy
Indy Neogy
2 min read

This piece is labelled a collection, because it I won't be applying much in the way of categorisation or hierarchy. Some of the elements here might have a lot of overlap, some will undoubtably be "Apples and Oranges" (which is to say, not really the same thing at all, not comparable, just loosely a state or mode of mind) but to make progress with the project we need to start somewhere and collecting the modes is a way to begin.

In the book under review this week, the editors note that most philosopher's agree that "reasoning consists in transitions between mental states, from 'premise attitudes' to a 'conclusion attitude';" so let us begin there:

Premise Attitudes

A state of mind under which certain statements or propositions are brought together, as elements for reasoning with.

Conclusion Attitude

A state of mind shifted to from a Premise Attitude where the propositions are judged to lead to a conclusion.

From this beginning I'm going to add just more different states and modes that I know about:

Associative Thinking

A state of making connections without the causal claims of reasoning.

Intention State

A state of having decided to act in a certain way.

Decision Making

A mode of choosing an action.

Problem solving

A state directed towards applying some action to create change in a specific way/towards a specific end?


A mode of deconstructing or finding flaws.

Information Gathering

A mode of seeking items that may become part of a thinking or reasoning process. Possibly directed by some goal?


A mode of discovery of the unknown? But may have a hint of mapping also?

A Web of Elements

Possibly the outcome of Associative Thinking (see above) this non-linear collection of items, is sometimes claimed (particularly by the proponents of Mind Mapping) to be how memory and knowledge live in our brains.

Linear Exposition

Most of the ways we communicate the thoughts that may (?) live in our brains as a Web of Elements are linear media, so before communication it may be that some transition from a Web to a Linear Exposition has to happen.


A mode of intentional acquisition of skills or knowledge?


A mode of building and testing a model of how something works?


A mode of thought focussed on generating new options/possibilities or maybe even items for association?


A mode of thought where the focus is on discarding options from a set.


A state or a phase where the focus is on finding problems or opportunities - in Creative Problem Solving it is considered to contain both moments of both divergence and convergence.


A mode of defining problems and connecting them to ideas that may hold something for a solution.


A mode of turning abstract ideas into a practical solution or plan.


A mode or state of action, of doing.


A mode of creating coherence or synchronising activity.


A mode of responding to non-verbal messages, possibly from the environment, or possibly from the inside. Emotion.


A mode in which we try to present something in such a way as to get a specific reaction (acceptance?) from someone else.

Have an idea of more states/modes to add? Drop me a line or find me on Twitter.

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Indy Neogy

Indy Neogy is the main author of Mind Atelier. He is a coach, consultant and thinker about better thinking using tools, spaces and principles for thought.