Minds and Machines

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 547–560

Crossing and dipping: Some terms for approaching the interface between natural understanding and logical formulation

  • E. T. Gendlin


Gendlin proposes experiential concepts as bridges between phenomenology and logical formulation. His method moves back and forth, aiming to increase both natural understanding and logical formulation. On thesubjective side, the concepts requiredirect reference tofelt orimplicit meaning. There is no equivalence between this and the logical side. Rather, in logical “explication”, the implicit iscarried forward, a relation shown by many functions. The subjective is no inner parallel. It performsspecific functions in language. Once these are located, they also lead to developments on the formulated side.

To show some of this, Gendlin modifies Lakoff and Johnson's theory of metaphor, and expands it into a theory of all language use. He denies that a metaphor consists of a pattern or image, shared by two situations. There is only one situation — the metaphoric one. The original situation is actually a family of many uses (in the Wittgensteinian sense). As in all speech, a word makes sense only as its use-family “crosses” with an actual situation in the actual spot in a sentence. Subjectively, a metaphor means this crossing. From it, long chains of new similarities and differences can be generated. Ways to study the functions and features of thiscrossing are proposed.

Key words

Metaphor Wittgenstein natural language focusing implicit artificial intelligence explication phenomenology 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. T. Gendlin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral SciencesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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