By Gilles Fauconnier
First released in 1985 (MIT Press), Fauconnier's influential e-book, psychological areas, used to be instrumental in shaping the recent box of cognitive linguistics. the idea that of psychological spaces--that we improve constructs in the course of discourse which are precise from linguistic constructs yet are verified by way of linguistic expressions--provides a strong new method of difficulties in philosophy and cognitive technological know-how relating inspiration and language. It contains a new preface that gives context for the idea, and a brand new foreword by way of George Lakoff and Eve Sweetser (both of U.C. Berkeley).
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Additional info for Mental Spaces: Aspects of Meaning Construction in Natural Language
The dynamics of this construction process implies that participants (speakers, hearers, thinkers, interlocutors) must keep track of the maze of spaces and connections being built, and one way in which this happens is through the use of point of view and point of view shifts, which are grammatically encoded by means of tenses, moods, space builders, anaphors, and other cognitive operators. In this extended sense, mental space configurations are mental models, but of course they are mental models of discourse, not mental models of the world.
In this context, statements like (8) are possible: (8) The mushroom omelet left without paying the bill. (8) is understood with the interpretation that the customer who had ordered the mushroom omelet left without paying. The target may then serve as a pronominal antecedent: (9) The mushroom omelet left without paying his bill. He jumped into a taxi. But in this case, pronominal reference to the trigger is more awkward: (10) The mushroom omelet left without paying. // was inedible. Reflexivization shows even stronger contrasts: (11) Norman Mailer likes to read himself before going to sleep.
In this extended sense, mental space configurations are mental models, but of course they are mental models of discourse, not mental models of the world. Philip Johnson Laird has reminded me in this regard of the important difference between viewing a situation as impossible, because no model can be constructed for it, versus representing a situation as impossible in some mental space, for example, in a reductio ad absurdum. The counterfactual space corresponding to a reductio is not itself impossible, Preface: Backstage Cognition xl just logically contradictory, but the mental model of a logical contradiction is of course impossible.