Cognitive Prism – More Than a Metaphor of Metaphor

  • Tiansi Dong

Abstract

In this chapter we address a basic question in the functional model of the mind: with which mechanism a cognitive agent can understand new concepts? and propose an answer: the cognitive prism mechanism. This mechanism is rooted in the information process of a neuron. Research results in cognitive psychology and linguistics support that such mechanism is used in concept-understanding in our everyday-life. We show that this mechanism is used to integrate spatial environments existing at different temporal points and form a spatial concept. Lakoff’s theory in concept-understanding can be reformulated in terms of the cognitive prism mechanism. The classic mathematical logic, as well as fuzzy logic, can be understood as the (prism) mapping from language to true or false values. In Chinese medicine, human-body structure is referenced to spatial concepts through certain cognitive prism mechanism. We argue that metaphor is not only the mechanism to relate concepts in non-physical domain to physical ones, but also the mechanism to relate concepts within the physical domain. We briefly criticize the current theory of joke and propose a novel perspective to the understanding of jokes in term of ‘potential tension’ of cognitive prism. We conclude that equipped with the cognitive prism mechanism and concepts of spatial environment cognitive agents shall understand quite a lot of spatial/non-spatial concepts.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiansi Dong
    • 1
  1. 1. KoelnGermany

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