Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lakoff and Johnson on Narayanan (1999)

Here's how George Lakoff and Mark Johnson sum up Narayanan's toy model of English verbal aspect in their 1999 book Philosophy in the Flesh:
Narayanan devised an ingenious way to test whether his model of general high-level motor control could handle purely abstract inferences, inferences having nothing to do with bodily movement. He constructed a neural model of conceptual metaphor and then found cases in which body-based metaphors were used in an abstract domain, in this case, international economics. [...] Narayanan then showed that models of the motor schemas for physical action can---under metaphoric projection---perform the appropriate abstract inferences about international economics. (p. 42)
They conclude:
Aspectual concepts that characterize the structure of events can be adequately represented in terms of general motor-control schemas, and abstract reasoning can be carried out using neural motor-control simulation. (p. 42)

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