Presentation on theme: "The Way We Think Gilles Fauconnier & Mark Turner."— Presentation transcript:
The Way We Think Gilles Fauconnier & Mark Turner
Gilles Fauconnier: Mark Turner: Currently: Institute Professor and Chair of Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University Previously: Associate Director of Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences Distinguished University Professor for University of Maryland. Pronounced (IPA): ʒ il fo.k ɔ.nje Currently: Professor at University of California, San Diego in the department of Cognitive Science.
“Consciousness can glimpse only a few vestiges of what the mind is doing,” as “The imagination is always at work in ways that consciousness does not apprehend,” and “Nearly all important thinking takes place outside of consciousness and is not available on introspection.” (p. 33-34) “The mental feats we think of as the most impressive are trivial compared to everyday capacities.” (p. 33) They state that imagination is mistakenly thought of as optional - that imaginative processes are actually essential not only to statements like “If I had milk, I would make muffins” (p. 221), but also “Paula is the boss of the daughter of Mike” (p. 277), and even the act of seeing a blue cup of coffee as a single item (p. 8). The imaginative process this book deals with is referred to as “blending,” and is the construction of a “blended” “mental space” (p. 40). MAJOR CLAIMS:
WHAT’S A MENTAL SPACE? Put simply: “Mental spaces are small conceptual packets constructed as we think and talk, for purposes of local understanding and action” (p. 40). There are different types of mental spaces: Input spaces: components of these are compared. Generic spaces: “maps onto each of the inputs and contains what the inputs have in common” (p. 41). Finally, the blended space or “blend.”
WHAT’S A BLEND? A blended space is a mental space in which two (or more) input spaces are compared. The point of making a blend is to bring concepts to human scale (p. 312), or to infuse them with new, helpful meaning (p. 92). “It makes us both efficient and creative” (p. 92).
THE BUDDHIST MONK EXAMPLE “A Buddhist Monk begins at dawn one day walking up a mountain, reaches the top at sunset, meditates at the top for several days until one dawn when he begins to walk back to the foot of the mountain, which he reaches at sunset. Make no assumptions about his starting or stopping or about his pace during the trips. Riddle: Is there a place on the path that the monk occupies at the same hour of the day on the two separate journeys?” (p. 39) 1. 3. 2. To solve the problem, imagine the monk walking simultaneously up on the first day and down on the last day, meeting himself at some point on the mountain path. Why is this so easy to imagine, when it’s physically impossible for the monk to “meet himself,” and physically impossible for the two days to “be the same?” “The imaginative conception of the monk’s meeting himself blends the journey to the summit and the journey back down, and it has the emergent structure of an ‘encounter’” between two people, not present in either input space (p. 40).
THE BUDDHIST MONK EXAMPLE Input spaces: One for the journey on the first day; one for the journey on the last day. Generic space: Each input space has a monk, moving along a path on the mountain. 1. 3. 2. Blended space: Each input space’s mountain slope is the same mountain slope in the blended space. The day of the ascent and day of the descent are “fused” into a single day, d’. The monk(s) and his/their direction of motion, though, can’t be fused, and the blend develops an emergent structure not present in either input space: that of two “separate people” meeting on the same day on the same path, going in opposite directions. (p. 41-42)
THE BUDDHIST MONK EXAMPLE Input spaces: One for the journey on the first day; one for the journey on the last day. Generic space: Each input space has a monk, moving along a path on the mountain. 3. 1. 3. 1.
THE BUDDHIST MONK EXAMPLE Blended space: Each input space’s mountain slope is the same mountain slope in the blended space. The day of the ascent and day of the descent are “fused” into a single day, d’. The monk(s) and his/their direction of motion, though, can’t be fused, and the blend develops an emergent structure not present in either input space: that of two “separate people” meeting on the same day on the same path, going in opposite directions. (p. 41-42) 1.3.
SELECTIVE PROJECTION Selective projection describes what is put into the blended space from the input spaces. (p. 71) If one isn’t selective enough with what they project, things become confusing in a similar way to the way they do when one maps too much from the source domain while making a metaphor. If you’re told to “pretend you’re a waiter” in order to ski well, that doesn’t mean you should take your skis off and ask people if they’re ready to order. It means you should look ahead and pay attention to your sense of balance, etc. (p. 35) Rene Magritte’s The Treachery of Images: “This is Not a Pipe.”
VITAL RELATIONS When compressing relations in the blend to achieve human scale, there are some links the input spaces tend to have. These are called Vital Relations. Compression: Inner vs. Outer Space Relations:
VITAL RELATIONS Identity: Possibly the most basic vital relation (p. 95), and taken for granted: we see the monk on the first day as the same monk on the last day; we see a baby as “the same” as the toddler as “the same” as the teen as “the same” as the adult. “We do not ask ourselves how we can see one thing as one thing because we assume that the unity comes from the thing itself, not from our mental work, just as we assume that the meaning of the picture is in the picture rather than in our interpretation of it,” but different aspects of a cup of coffee are actually processed in different parts of the brain. (p. 8) Uniqueness: Also taken for granted; it’s automatic for elements in the blend. “Many vital relations compress into uniqueness in the blend.” (p. 101)
VITAL RELATIONS Analogy: often compressed into uniqueness and change (p. 99) “Isn’t blending just a kind of analogy?” No: “In standard analogical reasoning, a base or source domain is mapped onto a target so that inferences easily available in the source are exported to the target… but in the skiing example… the instructor is not suggesting that the skier move ‘just like’ a waiter.” (p. 35) New Year’s and the Pope Disanalogy: Atlantic vs. Pacific. Often compressed into “change.” Change: Connects elements or groups of elements to each other (p. 93). Sapling Tree; Dinosaur Bird.
VITAL RELATIONS Time: New Year’s Day in 1988 and in 2007 are connected by time; Baby’s Ascent ritual compresses time. Space: frequently compressed. Intentionality: compression may create it in the blend – Dinosaur Bird. Cause-Effect: Fire Ashes; Cup Blueness (p. 78), Ache in phantom limb (p. 79)
VITAL RELATIONS Part-Whole: “That’s Gilles Fauconnier!” (-s face!) Representation: Paint is paint, etc. “This is not a pipe – just try to stuff it with tobacco! If I were to have had written on my picture ‘This is a Pipe’ I would have been lying.” – possibly said by Rene Magritte himself!
VITAL RELATIONS Role: Of the pope – “He was Italian for centuries but in 1978 he was Polish for the first time,” even “Pope dies again!” (p. 98) Property: “The most obvious status of a property is as an inner-space vital relation: In the space of the blue cup, the cup is intrinsically blue. “Blending often compresses an outer-space vital relation of some sort into an inner- space relation.” For example, “Warm coat.” (p. 99-100) Similarity: “Inner-space vital relation linking elements with shared properties” (p. 100), like this blue coat and blue cup. Category: Computer program is a virus. (Blending can compress outer-space relations like Analogy into Category.) (p. 100)
GOVERNING PRINCIPLES How are the vital relations managed? How does one make a comprehensible blend? “Achieve Human Scale” has these subgoals: “Compress what is diffuse. Obtain global insight. Strengthen vital relations. Come up with a story. Go from Many to One.” (p. 312) Topology: Preserves distinctions Compression: Reduces distinctions Here are some governing principles that help dictate how all this relates to achieve Human Scale and its subgoals:
GOVERNING PRINCIPLES: COMPRESSION Borrowing “tight coherence at human scale” from an input that has it for another that does not; for example, “he digested the book.” (p. 324) Single-relation compression by scaling. Single-relation compression by syncopation: “Diffuse structure in an input or across inputs can be compressed as it is projected to the blend by dropping out all but a few key elements.” (p. 324) Compression of one vital relation into another. Scalability: When possible, compress non-scalable relations like Analogy, Disanalogy, Identity, and Representation into scalable relations like Time, Space, Change, Cause-Effect, Part-Whole, Property, Similarity, and Intentionality. Creation by compression: adding a new vital relation to the space to help achieve human scale – Dinosaur Bird. Highlights compression: The Grim Reaper tells the whole “story of death” – the scythe for reaping, the robe worn at a funeral, and the end result – the dead person becoming a skeleton. (p. 320)
GOVERNING PRINCIPLES: OTHER Topology Principle: “Other things being equal, set up the blend and the inputs so that useful topology in the inputs and their outer-space relations is reflected by inner-space relations in the blend.” (p. 327) This works to prevent too much Compression, which tries to compress vital relations in the blend instead of preserve them. Six ways to align topology: 1. Default: a relation is projected without change, like the distance traveled by each monk. 2. A relation has no counterpart in the blend: “The presence of only some topology emphasizes that topology” (p. 325) 3. A relation is projected to the same relation in the blend, but scaled: Time in Baby’s Ascent. 4. Relation is syncopated: “Syncopation preserves ordering but leaves out all but certain highlights” (p. 325) 5. Compress a relation into another relation, like Analogy to Uniqueness. Capgras’ Delusion. 6. Relation in one input can be the inverse of that relation in the other: “In ‘digging your own financial grave,’ the direction of causality in the investment input is the inverse of the direction of causality in the grave input. The investment input has the preferred topology, but the grave input has the preferred compression.” (p. 327)
GOVERNING PRINCIPLES: OTHER Integration: “Achieve an integrated blend.” (p. 328) Debate with Kant eliminates German. Pattern Completion Principle: “Other things being equal, complete elements in the blend by using existing integrated patterns as additional inputs. Other things being equal, use a completing frame that has relations that can be the compressed versions of the important outer- space vital relations between the inputs.” (p. 328) Maximization of Vital Relations Principle: “Other things being equal, maximize vital relations in the network. In particular, maximize the vital relations in the blended space and reflect them in outer-space vital relations.” (p. 330) This is most important in blends that show the relation between inputs; in blends representing hypothetical spaces, however, such as blending yourself with a stockbroker you know when you explore the question “what if I became a stockbroker?” the Maximization of Vital Relations Principle is not as important – you’re not comparing yourself with your friend, but pretending to be her and seeing how you feel about that. (p. 330) Intensification of Vital Relations Principle: “Other things being equal, intensify vital relations.” (p. 330)
GOVERNING PRINCIPLES: OTHER Web Principle: “Other things being equal, manipulating the blend as a unit must maintain the web of appropriate connections to the input spaces easily and without additional surveillance or computation.” (p. 331) Unpacking Principle: “Other things being equal, the blend all by itself should prompt for the reconstruction of the entire network.” (p. 332) Relatedly: Blends can become entrenched. Relevance Principle: “Other things being equal, an element in the blend should have relevance, including relevance for establishing links to other spaces and for running the blend. Conversely, an outer-space relation between the inputs that is important for the purpose of the network should have a corresponding compression in the blend.” (p. 333) The relevance principle “guides… construction and interpretation of the network” (p. 334). Personifying death makes him wear clothes – but which clothes should be relevant to his symbolic meaning, and so funeral clothes are chosen. A punk with a dog collar isn’t saying “I’m a dog,” but the spiky collar is chosen to say “keep away,” to be relevant with his or her other actions. (p. 334)
MORE BLENDS Counterfactuals: Contrasting the input space of reality with the input space of “what if.” Are counterfactuals grammatically limited to phrases containing “if” or “then?” No! Counterfactuals are everywhere. “Gary King, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba, in Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research, argue that there is no form of causal inference in the social sciences that does not depend upon counterfactual reasoning.” (p. 218) Verbs like “prevent” and nouns like “dent” trigger counterfactual spaces (p. 239). “Paul believes he’ll get his daughter admitted to Berkely because he thinks Mary is the dean of admissions” is used as just one example of how we use counterfactual spaces. (p. 238)
MORE BLENDS “Of”: “Ann is the boss of the daughter of Max.” (pages 150-155)
名 vs. 实 MORE LINGUISTIC THEORY “Form [words] does not present meaning, but triggers a blend” (p. 5) “The child is safe” vs. “The medicine is safe” – safe has no inherent meaning, but instead triggers a blend that has meaning. (p. 143) Critical of “Formal” approaches, that believe that the only thing that can be behind a form is more form: “The absurdity would come from assuming that the only thing that can lie behind a form is yet another form,” like “looking for more armor inside the armor” (p. 14)
THE BICYCLE THEORY OF LANGUAGE ORIGIN The components of the bicycle are long in developing: gears, rubber, the wheel, metal, brakes, tire pumps, etc. None of these components are “early types of bike,” but when they were all present, the bike was finally possible. Language, they propose, is similar, with double-scope blending being the critical thing necessary for language (p. 181). Before it, language wasn’t possible. Just as there are no “fossil bikes” (as opposed to earlier versions of “proper bikes” (p. 192)), this explains why there are no “fossil languages.” As soon as double- scope blending came about, so, within cultural (instead of biological) time, did language and cognitively modern mental capabilities (p. 181).
THE BICYCLE THEORY OF LANGUAGE ORIGIN “Just as bipedalism is essential for riding a bicycle although no one would suggest that bipedalism evolved to support our efforts to bicycle, so double-scope blending is essential for language although double-scope blending did not evolve to support our efforts at language.” (p. 193) A damaged bicycle might still work, but no one proposes that a damaged bicycle is an earlier form of a well-functioning bicycle. So we should avoid the fallacy of believing damaged language to be more “primitive.” (p. 192)
THE BICYCLE THEORY OF LANGUAGE ORIGIN Children go through intermediate stages when learning language. The authors compare this to riding with a tricycle, and then removing the third wheel. “No one proposes that children must first learn to ride a unicycle and then the more complicated bicycle.” (p. 192) VS.
IS EVERYTHING A BLEND? “When we see a table next to a chair, we are organizing them as spatially adjacent, not blending the table and chair.” (p. 350) You can have things in the same frame without blending them. For example, you might think both the table and the chair belong to the same person, or were bought together, or were made in a certain style or time period, but none of these things are blends. Neither is thinking about going to the furniture store – unless you are using the furniture store to stand for something else! “Brains can put together elements in very many ways other than blending.” (p. 350)