Mark Turner
Department of English, University of Maryland
December 1997
Mini-worlds Versus Complex Adaptive Systems

To what extent can we model thought and the figurative as emergent properties of complex adaptive systems?  This is the question I will address.  Along the way,  I will present conceptual and linguistic mechanisms that are  general but that can produce what are judged to be  "figurative" and "figural" products. I will show that what counts as "analogical" or "metaphoric" depends upon what conceptual system is already in place.  I will argue that what makes "green house," "house boat," and "fire station" look literal but "land yacht" and "jail bait" figurative is not a difference of underlying conceptual or linguistic mechanisms.

Mark Turner is Professor of English at the University of Maryland; see his home page.
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