An idea was described to me once, that went something like this:

Thoughts give rise to actions. But, given that mental activity involves movement of neurotransmitters, etc. then thought itself is an action of the brain. On the other hand, the mental experience that gives rise to the physical actions that constitute cognition is a distinct thing from the brain phenomenon that is "thought".

What is the terms for the strictly mind-experienced (as opposed to brain-affecting) part of thought? I remember it having a distinctive name in cognitive metaphysical jargon but I don't remember what it was.

  • While unable to vouch for the 'cognitive metaphysical jargon' phrase (hence a comment and not an answer) I am pretty certain that 'visualization' covers that which you are describing.
    – Avestron
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 19:41
  • Maybe but it's not the term I heard. It was a jargon term that doesn't get used in regular conversation.
    – beth
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 20:02
  • This is the 'idea' or 'ideal' in Platonism that becomes the root of 'idealism' as a philosophical category. So was it some form of 'ideation'?
    – user9166
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 21:04
  • Well the conversation was based on dualist concepts, although I suppose that pretty much everything becomes qualia in idealism to the point that it seems redundant to have a word for it.
    – beth
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 22:24
  • Sensory-motor emulation (mind.ucsd.edu/papers/emulation/emulation.html) Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 23:27

1 Answer 1


I found the answer! The word I was looking for is ‘qualia’ (singular ‘quale’):

Philosophers often use the term ‘qualia’ (singular ‘quale’) to refer to the introspectively accessible, phenomenal aspects of our mental lives.

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