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  1. #1
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    Default Concepts We Live By

    Concepts We Live By

    Most of us know “metaphor” only as an aspect of language that allows us to comprehend one concept in terms of another concept that is known to us. We think of metaphor as a matter of words only; not as a matter of thought and action.

    SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) has found that “metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.”

    This theory developed by SGCS represents a revolution in our comprehension of why humans do the things that we do.


    Our conceptual system is generally not something about which we often think; we are inclined to just think and act without any comprehension of the underlying reasons for this thought and action. We have been generally taught by our educational system to view only appearances as being worthy of our critically notice. We have been taught to view reality much like an iceberg, we see (metaphorically KNOW IS SEE) only the ten percentages that appears to the eye as being worth of critical comprehension.

    If we examine various scientific groups, both natural science and human science, we might find the often used metaphors KNOW IS ANALYZE or perhaps KNOW IS TEST. Our general culture uses KNOW IS SEE and SEEING IS BELIEVING. If we examine these metaphors we can see or perhaps analyze the fact that the culture and the metaphors we use within the group highlight the very nature of the intellectual nature of that group.

    Categorization, the first level of abstraction from “Reality” is our first level of conceptualization and thus of knowing. Seeing is a process that includes categorization, we see something as an interaction between the seer and what is seen. “Seeing typically involves categorization.”

    Our categories are what we consider to be real in the world: tree, rock, animal…Our concepts are what we use to structure our reasoning about these categories. Concepts are neural structures that are the fundamental means by which we reason about categories.

    Human categories, the stuff of experience, are reasoned about in many different ways. These differing ways of reasoning, these different conceptualizations, are called prototypes and represent the second level of conceptualization.


    Typical-case prototype conceptualization modes are “used in drawing inferences about category members in the absence of any special contextual information. Ideal-case prototypes allow us to evaluate category members relative to some conceptual standard…Social stereotypes are used to make snap judgments…Salient exemplars (well-known examples) are used for making probability judgments…Reasoning with prototypes is, indeed, so common that it is inconceivable that we could function for long without them.”

    When we conceptualize categories in this fashion we often envision them using spatial metaphors. Spatial relation metaphors form the heart of our ability to perceive, conceive, and to move about in space. We unconsciously form spatial relation contexts for entities: ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘about’, ‘across from’ some other entity are common relationships that make it possible for us to function in our normal manner.

    When we perceive a black cat and do not wish to cross its path our imagination conceives container shapes such that we do not penetrate the container space occupied by the cat at some time in its journey. We function in space and the container schema is a normal means we have for reasoning about action in space. Such imaginings are not conscious but most of our perception and conception is an automatic unconscious force for functioning in the world.

    Our manner of using language to explain experience provides us with an insight into our cognitive structuring process. Perceptual cues are mapped onto cognitive spaces wherein a representation of the experience is structured onto our spatial-relation contour. There is no direct connection between perception and language.

    The claim of SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) is “that the very properties of concepts are created as a result of the way the brain and the body are structured and the way they function in interpersonal relations and in the physical world.”

    "To change the very concept of a category is to change not only our concept of the mind, but also our understanding of the world."

    Quotes from Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind George Lakoff and from Metaphors We Live By George Lakoff

  2. #2
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    Is that the same animal as a "pre-formed symbolic complex?"

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    They hate me here because I love to speak metaphorically.

    And they love MBTI because they think seeing is believing.

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    Senior Member Loxias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    They hate me here because I love to speak metaphorically.
    I love metaphors, but I don't agree much with the ideas I've seen you bring so far.
    I don't hate you though.

    Very interesting text in the OP. btw
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loxias View Post
    I love metaphors, but I don't agree much with the ideas I've seen you bring so far.
    I would prefer you didn't agree or disagree with my ideas. Rather I would prefer you approach my ideas in a spacial sense. In other words, I would prefer you juxtapose your ideas with mine.

    And as a metaphor is a comparison of relationships, a metaphor is simply a juxtaposition of one relationship with another, or one idea with another.

    So speaking metaphorically we move out of the basement of agreement or disagreement and we start to build a beautiful structure of ideas into the sky.

    In this way we move out of the dank and nasty cellar of argument, up past the branches of the green and leafy trees, into the clear blue sky of metaphor.

    Then our only danger is a little giddiness, but there we are to steady one another.

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    Senior Member Loxias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    I would prefer you didn't agree or disagree with my ideas. Rather I would prefer you approach my ideas in a spacial sense. In other words, I would prefer you juxtapose your ideas with mine.

    And as a metaphor is a comparison of relationships, a metaphor is simply a juxtaposition of one relationship with another, or one idea with another.
    A metaphor is not only a juxtaposition without ties between the elements on level 1 and elements on level 2. They work coherently together as a reflection of each other.
    Are you suggesting me to find mirrorings between your ideas and mine? Links between the different elements and their relationships in both ideas?
    I'll try, it's an interesting experiment, but I am not convinced it can work.
    You seem to be working from a kind of belief that all is one, therefore, ultimately, everything can be linked and related. I don't know yet whether or not I believe in things (including ideas) being this way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    So speaking metaphorically we move out of the basement of agreement or disagreement and we start to build a beautiful structure of ideas into the sky.
    To what end though?

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    In this way we move out of the dank and nasty cellar of argument, up past the branches of the green and leafy trees, into the clear blue sky of metaphor.
    I find arguing to be fun, it's like war, as long as no affect is put into it, it becomes a noble discipline and exercise through which all that we have learnt is channeled. And while it can end up in death, annihilation of ideas, it can also better us or our ideas, for what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
    I can understand that you reject this vision, but understand that some of us find it meaningful, or simply just a nice entertainment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Then our only danger is a little giddiness, but there we are to steady one another.
    In the sky all concrete structure of reference is soon lost, hence the giddiness. Is it something genuinely positive? Why should we even aim for the sky?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loxias View Post
    A metaphor is not only a juxtaposition without ties between the elements on level 1 and elements on level 2. They work coherently together as a reflection of each other.
    Are you suggesting me to find mirrorings between your ideas and mine? Links between the different elements and their relationships in both ideas?
    I'll try, it's an interesting experiment, but I am not convinced it can work.
    You seem to be working from a kind of belief that all is one, therefore, ultimately, everything can be linked and related. I don't know yet whether or not I believe in things (including ideas) being this way.


    To what end though?


    I find arguing to be fun, it's like war, as long as no affect is put into it, it becomes a noble discipline and exercise through which all that we have learnt is channeled. And while it can end up in death, annihilation of ideas, it can also better us or our ideas, for what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
    I can understand that you reject this vision, but understand that some of us find it meaningful, or simply just a nice entertainment.


    In the sky all concrete structure of reference is soon lost, hence the giddiness. Is it something genuinely positive? Why should we even aim for the sky?
    Like Erasmus I think war is evil.

    And like Clauserwitz I think arguing is war by other means.

    And I prefer the arts of peace to the arts of war.

    And arguing is due to an impoverished imagination.

    And as computers have no imagination they can't make metaphors. Only persons, and imaginative persons, can make metaphors.

    So let us leave arguing to the computer geeks and the war mongers and take flight in our imaginations.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Loxias's Avatar
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    I love imagination, it's my main tool of production, I live for and by it.
    However, through this I know intimately how hard and conflictual it is to conciliate imagination and reality, to make the imaginary happen. Because the imaginary alone leads nowhere, unfortunately.
    We are still humans inserted in reality that we can't escape, and we have to abide by the rules of reality, which works on conflicts and dominance. The lion eats the antelope, the strong kills the weak.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loxias View Post
    I love imagination, it's my main tool of production, I live for and by it.
    However, through this I know intimately how hard and conflictual it is to conciliate imagination and reality, to make the imaginary happen. Because the imaginary alone leads nowhere, unfortunately.
    We are still humans inserted in reality that we can't escape, and we have to abide by the rules of reality, which works on conflicts and dominance. The lion eats the antelope, the strong kills the weak.
    Don' eat me, Loxias, don' eat me mate!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Loxias's Avatar
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    But I am hungry!
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