Metaphore, Self-Reflection, and the Nature of Mind

Metaphore, Self-Reflection, and the Nature of Mind

John A. Barnden (University of Birmingham, UK)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-482-8.ch003


This chapter speculatively addresses the nature and effects of metaphorical views that a mind can intermittently use in thinking about itself and other minds, such as the view of mind as a physical space in which ideas have physical locations. Although such views are subjective, it is argued in this chapter that they are nevertheless part of the real nature of the conscious and unconscious mind. In particular, it is conjectured that if a mind entertains a particular (metaphorical) view at a given time, then this activity could of itself cause that mind to become more similar in the short term to how it is portrayed by the view. Hence, the views are, to an extent, self-fulfilling prophecies. In these ways, metaphorical self-reflection, even when distorting and inaccurate, is speculatively an important aspect of the true nature of mind. The chapter also outlines a theoretical approach and related implemented system (ATT-Meta) that were designed for the understanding of metaphorical discourse but that incorporate principles that could be at the core of metaphorical self-reflection in people or future artificial agents.

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