The Mind is an Autocatalytic Vortex
LITERARY MIND - REAL: YEARBOOK OF RESEARCH IN ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE, Jürgen Schlaeger, ed., Vol. 24, Tübingen, Germany: Gunter Narr Verlag, 2008
29 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2008 Last revised: 6 Apr 2009
Date Written: September 26, 2008
Blending is indispensable for advanced narrative cognition. In The Literary Mind (1996), I argued that the modern mind derives from our remarkable capacity to deploy a cohort of basic mental operations-story, projection, blending, and parable. These operations are a pack, a troupe, a self-feeding cyclone, an autocatalytic vortex, a breeder reactor, a dynamic heterarchy-choose your metaphor: they labor together. Some of the evidence I presented in The Literary Mind can be misinterpreted, it seems, as suggesting that advanced narrative cognition comes first in the sequence, and that upon this rock the other operations build their conceptual church. My purpose here is to correct that misinterpretation. Mature narrative cognition does not exist without blending. Blending is not a second step.
Keywords: conceptual integration, blending, narrative, theory of mind, personal identity, perspective, other minds, future self, past self, discounting the future, mental time travel, projection of intentionality, compression, mental space
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