In this chapter I am going to explain how intelligent thought is based on concepts and how virtually every component of thought is a concept. To pose an analogy, I am going to provide a simple introduction to a software discipline called object oriented programming (OOP).
OOP is a software design approach that fundamentally organizes the important parts of the program as classes of objects. It utilizes a categorical hierarchy to make similar things behave and respond in similar manners. For example, the programmer could define a class of objects called shapes, then define shape subclasses of squares, circles, and triangles that behave similarly in that they calculate area, but each provides a different algorithm for its specific formula. In addition to hierarchical definition, classes can be contained in each other: a house object can contain window and door objects. These objects can be very specific to the purpose of the program. There could network router object that may model all the properties and behaviors of an actual router.
In a pure OOP language, everything is an object: everything is inherited from a baseline Object class. The entire application would operate in terms of these objects: how they interact with each other. A toaster object could turn a slice of bread object into a piece of toast object, for example.
This short, simple description of OOP is intended to introduce a related idea relevant to this document:
All of our thoughts are instances of concepts: some much more complicated than others. Concepts assign meaning to the information vectors we perceive. Concepts are the operations and associations related to other concepts. Concepts also represent the evaluation of those operations and associations. This section explores these ideas in more detail.
So in the 1 + 1 = 3 example above, a computer language that supported concept calculations, would be able to operate on all of the concepts itemized in the bullet list and make an evaluation similar to the one that you or I would make: one plus one equals three…is wrong.