I mean, I can name this post:

Intelligence and sentience

Where in our brains does thinkings stop and feelings start? If I have to answer what I am feeling, I would just ask my heart (in my brain) and it would say what I am feeling.

Wikipedia shows the six basic emotions:

  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Excited
  • Angry
  • Tender
  • Scared

What you are feeling at any time will be some combination of them. So, the linear algebra in me would just want to say these six form a basis and your feeling state at any time is a superposition of these six states. Hope this isn’t an oversimplification.

Thinking doesn’t have such a nice basis. Thinking involves understanding the system, making predictions, and go about your day. Repeat as needed.

My search for the difference between thinking and feeling led me to the different personality traits. Some are thinkers and would believe facts and some are feelers (?) and would go with the gut feeling instead. This isn’t what I am looking for anyway.

Intelligence v/s sentience search was a bit more fruitful but much of the debate was confined in the backdrop of Artificial Intelligence. It wouldn’t be fit here though.

It would make a little bit more sense if I set what came first

But, this would be a chicken or egg problem.

If only using intelligence

You can define feelings as states where:

  • Happy when outcome matches or exceeds predictions resulting in favourable/beneficial outcome
  • Sad when the opposite happens and results in less favourable outcomes
  • Excited when favourable/beneficial outcome is expected
  • Angry when favourable/beneficial outcome is seeming to be more unlikely
  • Tender when favourable/beneficial outcomes is expected for oneself and others
  • Scared when outcomes are unfavourable af and beyond the understandings

And with these definitions, you can make educated guesses of what a system is feeling based on what outcomes it is expecting and what it is experiencing.

This is treating sentience as a response than as a trait of the individual here. If the individual isn’t capable of sentience in the first place, the individual can be in any of the above state but will not experience the feeling.

Seems pretty easy.

If only using sentience

There is the Pavlov’s Dog thingy Classical Conditioning. This subtlely deals with dog’s ability to map conditioned stimulus to conditioned response. So, there is some intelligence involved here.

And then there is the Hedonisitic approach where one just eyes for Happy all the time. But in doing so, one needs to use to system’s interations, and make predictions to choose the path which yields maximum happiness.

Sentience can emit gut feelings which may/maynot be backed with logical reasoning. Like, I know this sounds kind weird but like you can feel thinking.

An only thinking cannot respond only based on gut feeling because the individual cannot see any stimulus requiring it.

I will hopeful come back to this at a later time and maybe populate an example where you can feel thinking.

In conclusion,

If you can only think, you can think what to feel and how to feel but you cannot feel.

If you can only feel, you cannot think but you can feel what some thinking would give.

Animals including humans can feel and think. Even fishes can. See Brown 2015.