Thoughts are mental images of physical reality in the mind and they are the key to comprehending the world around us. The goal of mental development is to understand reality by putting existing facts into a system of thought that agrees with reality (world view).
contexts and systems
The criterion for judging the quality of a thought is the following:
A THOUGHT HAS A VALUE IF IT REPRESENTS AN ASPECT OF REALITY.
The more reality import there is in thoughts, the more valuable the thinking becomes. The reverse applies: the less reality import there is in thoughts, the less valuable they are, the more fictions and illusions arise. That's because thoughts are mental representations of physical reality in the mind, and if they don't render reality accurately, they don’t fulfil their purpose.
Thoughts are the key to understanding the world. Animals perceive reality, but their mentality serves as a storage of memories, as instincts, rather than a living, active faculty. It's with concepts that the human reasoning faculty begins.
A concept is a multitude of thoughts. If thoughts are individual symbols, then a concept is a set of symbols. The concept of a table already includes a vast amount of thoughts about tables. These thoughts are not loosely connected, but interrelated so that we understand what the word ‘table’ means. Words are also concepts.
Knowledge and fictions
The goal of mentality is to understand reality by putting all existing facts into a knowledge system. Such a perfect system can never be achieved, something that the incomplete ideologies from history have proved many times over. We can never have all the facts of reality required for obtaining the perfect system of thought. But the mind always re-defines its world and life view as new facts are discovered, and so comes ever closer to the correct apprehension of reality.
All thinking is valuable only if it deals with reality. If it doesn't, then illusions and fictions are the result. Without a reference to reality the mind is left with vagaries and mental arbitrariness.
If logics and research don't work hand in hand, then thinking starts to consider its mental creations as facts. Logics erroneously becomes the means by which thinkers delude themselves into believing that they can obtain facts of reality through thinking alone. But you can't get from mental constructions more than what you put into them. If logical thinking isn't based on facts of research, then any random propositions, statements and mental constructions can be invented and defended. In this way a sort of empty questions and pseudo problems can be created.
Thinking has a value only if it deals with reality. If it doesn't, then illusions and fictions are the result. Without any reference to reality thinking is no more than vagaries and arbitrariness.
Mentality alone doesn't obtain facts. It processes facts through logics to comprehend, but logics doesn't create facts. Obtaining facts is the task of research (science), because...
FACTS ARE INFORMATION OBTAINED THROUGH PHYSICAL SENSES.
Once those facts are ascertained, it is the task of reason to process them via logics, so that rational conclusions based on reality are possible. In a nutshell: experience and research obtain facts, and logics processes facts to draw conclusions.
If you have a strong belief system or interests to represent, you could make up any sort of logical argumentation to defend your proposition and claim that this is the truth, although in fact it would not have to be true at all. The word 'sophistry' has became a synonym for the use of clever but false arguments that are difficult to recognise by people who aren’t skilled in logical and qualitative thinking.