Conceptual Blending and Intentionality
Conceptual Blending and Intentionality. Facta Universitatis, vol. 10, no.1, 41-52, 2012
Posted: 26 Mar 2011 Last revised: 20 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 20, 2012
My original thesis was that conceptual blending was solely based on acts of individual intentionality without addressing collective or multiple intentionality (or "aboutness"). However, after reconsidering the problem, using Arthur Koestler's examples from The Act of Creation and Fauconnier's and Turner's examples that were deeply ingrained in shared social contexts, I started to change my initial thesis. What made me switch over to the idea that conceptual blending was, after all, dominantly a tacit and unconscious social act that required shared intentionality was John Searle's concept of "The Background" and Langacker's "grounding," which, although different, both pointed at the socially shared elements of internalized knowledge. Thus, on second thought it appeared to me that conceptual blending hinged a lot on social factors and/or rituals and definitely needed a wider social context. Actually it turned out that I had to try to answer Searle's question: Can an individual harbor both her own ideas and collective ones at the same time? As Searle claims that this dual capacity is a biological given that is shared by a variety of species and presupposes "a background sense of the other as candidate for cooperative agency," I could not help noticing the sheer intellectual effort it takes to break away from the Background. This meant that the only thing that blocked esoteric and weird interpretations was not the semantic content but the shared tacit assumptions. There seems to be a more or less relevant counterpart in linguistics proper, too. and that is Langacker's concept of modeling local contextual aspects of meaning (the notion of "ground"). In the end, I was able to conclude that conceptual blending must have recourse to collectivity as a shared background in situations that require it.
Keywords: Koestler, Fauconnier, Turner, Searle, bisociative matrix, conceptual blending, the Background, topological indexicals, intentionality
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation