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Original scientific paper

Cognitive operations and projection spaces

Francisco José Ruiz de Mendoza orcid id ; Universidad de La Rioja, Logroño
Sandra Peña Cervel ; Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid

Full text: english pdf 369 Kb

page 131-158

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In recent years, Mark Turner and Gilles Fauconnier have popularized
the theory of blending (or conceptual integration) as a widespread cognitive
mechanism which applies over many areas of conceptualization,
including metaphor and metonymy. According to this theory, the understanding
of some metaphorical expressions involves the activation of, at
least, four different mental spaces: two input spaces (i.e. a source and a
target space), a generic space, and a blend. Turner & Fauconnier contend
that in this process emergent structure may be created which is not
present in any of the input spaces. Emergent structure is the result of a
number of potential irregularities in the mapping process, such as the
existence of asymmetries and non-correspondences between source and
target. The present paper examines Turner & Fauconnier’s proposal
carefully and argues that there are no irregularities in conceptual projection.
In our view, purported irregularities are only apparent and may be
explained away in terms of the activation and principled combination of
partial source and target inputs which are projected and integrated into
single composite source and target spaces. These composite spaces
have all the structure necessary for the metaphorical cross-domain
mapping to take place in such a way that there are no noncorrespondences
or asymmetries between source and target. We also argue that the default interpretation of expressions involving conceptual
projection and integration is a matter of the activity of any of a number
of cognitive operations such as correlation, contrast, domain expansion,
domain reduction, strengthening, mitigation, saturation, and counterfactual
reasoning. Finally, in our alternative account, there is a projection
space that is constructed on the basis of the conceptual structure resulting
from such operations. This space is available for additional implicative
operations that are often needed to derive the ultimate value of expressions
in context.


mental space; blend; emergent structure; input space; conceptual projection; integration; cognitive operations; projection space

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