By Gilles Fauconnier, Mark Turner
I only read part one (back in September). Wanted to keep the notes for when I get back to it!
Conceptual blending! It’s the basis of all creative and non-creative thought. Language has a ton of counter-factuals in which we easily understand things that are explicitly not true. Mostly this comes from being able to do conceptual blending, where we take two frames of thought and merge certain parts of them.
This can be imaginative but it can also be mundane. e.g. Consider the form X is the Y of Z. This could be Paul is the father of Sally or poetry is the echo of the soul. They both use conceptual blending to map one space onto another. The first projects the conceptual space of two unrelated people into our conception of fatherhood. In the second, we have the space of poetry and souls which are projected into our conception of echo. The first has a clear interpretation; the second less so; but in both it’s the same act of mapping conceptual spaces onto each other.
Conceptual blending is a way of compressing information. Forget exactly what they said about this.
It’s often a subconscious process. I think here they almost touch on the “Thinking Fast and Slow” conception of how we think, in that conceptual blends often are the fast thinking and sometimes we need to break out that way of thinking to think about something more deeply or logically.
My response: I dig conceptual blending. It’s unclear exactly how it is always a compression of information if it requires or draws on all our knowledge of the anchoring frames to create the blend. I guess the resulting blend is a compression, but only because it ties to other stuff we know. This doesn’t exactly fit with my understanding on compression. But, I think the idea is good and it seems like essentially an extension of the conceptual metaphor theory, which is mapping one concept onto another with some shared overlap that increases our understanding of the target concept. Perhaps it’s two-way conceptual metaphor theory.