To think is to judge.
Humans are constantly processing and evaluating new incoming data in order to construct and expand their epistemic frameworks, their systems of thinking about things. Judgments are the means of thought – that is, judgments are necessary to constructing these frameworks.
These frameworks, in turn, catalyze our processing of that new information. they allows us to instinctively prioritize incoming data streams, sorting out the banalities and allowing us to focus on more meaningful and interesting pieces of information.
While I don’t ascribe to a “tabula rasa” view of human development, epistemic frameworks don’t strike me as the sort of thing that may be passed down by our genetic makeup. Thus, as infants and children, we exert tremendous mental effort in constructing these frameworks for our later us.
The intellectual capacity of children is really quite stunning by this view, for while they generate these frameworks they don’t have the luxury of using them to sort incoming information. They are bombarded by more stimuli than most adults could possibly conceive, and manage not only to process it but also to construct mental frameworks with which to sort and process that stimuli more expeditiously in the future.
Without epistemic frameworks, we would be in the same position as infants: everything would be a novelty, and higher thought would be a practical impossibility.
Judgments are the necessary catalysts of thought.