Dictionary of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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Disputed term/author/ism Author
Actions Gärdenfors I 15/16
Action/Meaning/Language/Gärdenfors: Thesis: Actions, especially exercised forces have an influence on meanings of our linguistic expressions. See Johnson (1987)(1), Clark (1997)(2), Mandler (2004, especially pp. 118-119)(3). ---
I 91
Action/Gärdenfors: Speaking and listening are traditionally understood as autonomous actions. H. Clark (1996, p.19)(4) Thesis: one should understand both as participatory actions. Gärdenfors: It is about bringing the spirit of the participants together. (>Meeting of Minds). Predecessor of this view: G. H. Mead (1934)(5).
I 145
Acts/Linguistics/Gärdenfors: many of our cognitive representations affect dynamic properties (as opposed to properties denoted by most nouns and adjectives). (See van Gelder, 1995, Port & van Gelder, 1995)(6). Conceptual space/Action/Gärdenfors: Thesis: the action space can be treated as the colour space or the shape space.
Action/Gärdenfors: Thesis: Actions can be described as force patterns. (See Space/Lakoff).
I 146
Actions/Language/Gärdenfors: many of our everyday concepts come from acts and events, many words for artefacts - such as chairs, clocks, etc. - are categorized according to their functional properties. (See Nelson, 1996, Mandler, 2004).(7) (8) ---
I 148
Action/Representation/Gärdenfors: Thesis: an action is represented by the force pattern, which produces it. N.B.: a consequence of this thesis is that the actors are not part of the representation.
Conceptual space: the conceptual space for actions is therefore a configurational space that includes the movements e.g. of body parts. It is based on the force space. As in the case of forms, there is also a meronomic (part-whole) structure in forces. (See Westera, 2008, > Robot Control). (9)
I 153
Action/Categories/Function/Gärdenfors: Thesis on concepts of action: a concept of action is represented as a convex region of the space of action. Convex: one can interpret that here in the way that a linear "morph" (e.g. hiking, running, marching) between two actions within a region of a concept of action will fall under the same concept.
I 198
Actions/Gärdenfors: Conclusion: 1. The models of action and the models for property changes make it possible to predict the similarities of verbs and their superordinate and subordinate hierarchies.
2. The distinction between course of action/result is directly derived from the assumption of a single area.
3. The role of intentionality in the verb meaning is underlined. Many verbs, which seem to contravene the assumption of a single space, have a dual lexical potential.
Verbs: can be analyzed similarly to the pointing and similar to nouns and adjectives. Therefore, I do not divide verbs into classes.
I 199
Pro verbs/Gärdenfors: Verbs like "is", "go", "make" are often placeholders for verbs of the course of action or property change. I call them "pro verbs" analog to pronouns.

1. Johnson, M. (1987). The body in the mind: The bodily basis of cognition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
2. Clark, A. (1997). Being there: Putting brain, body, and world together again. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
3. Mandler, J. M. (2004). The foundations of mind: Origins of conceptual thought. New York: Oxford University Press.
4. Clark, H. (1996). Using Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
5. Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, self, and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
6. Port, R. F., & van Gelder, T. (Eds.). (1995). Mind as motion. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
7. Nelson, K. (1996). Language in cognitive development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
8. Mandler, J. M. (2004). The foundations of mind: Origins of conceptual thought. New York: Oxford University Press.
9. Westera, M. (2008). Action representations and the semantics of verbs. Bachelor’s thesis. Cognitive Artificial Intelligence, Utrecht University.

Gä I
P. Gärdenfors
The Geometry of Meaning Cambridge 2014

Compositionality Gärdenfors I 241
Compositionality/conceptual space/linguistics/Gärdenfors: how can conceptual spaces describe the mechanisms that act during the formation of composite meanings? (For compositionality Szabo 2004). (1) Compositionality/GärdenforsVsFrege: thesis: since the communicative context changes the meaning of the expressions involved, the linguistic expression is under defined in its meaning.
Communication/Transformation/Gärdenfors: Thesis: the compilation of meanings often transforms these meanings.
I 242
Direct composition/Gärdenfors: (non-Fregean): direct compositions are mappings between semantic areas (Holoyak & Thagard, 1996; Fauconnier & Turner, 1998; Gärdenfors, 2000). (2)(3)(4) Combination adjective-noun: e.g. blue rectangle: its meaning is defined as the Cartesian product of the blue region of the color space and the rectangle region of the shape space.
A product of compact and convex amounts will in turn be compact and convex. The mapping functions are continuous. The function product is also continuous.
N.B.: thus the fixed point properties remain in the composition. (See fixed point/Gärdenfors (I 97): certainty about the common focus on an object.
Meaning/GärdenforsVsFrege: the meaning of the compound structure is no longer formed by the meaning of the components but by the areas and functions. These can be located as regions in the product space (e.g., of color and size). It is assumed that the areas involved are separable. But in practice, they are not completely separate: some pre-processing must take place before the areas can be combined.
I 244
Head/Modification/Gärdenfors: the analysis with head and modifier will usually not work because our knowledge about the respective areas will change the representation of the modifier: e.g. white wine is not white, e.g. a large squirrel is not a big animal. ((s)> syncategorematic expressions in Analytical Philosophy). Solution/Gärdenfors: we need contrast classes. E.g. adjectives such as "large" need contrast classes, which introduce yet another property.
Then we can assume compact convex regions of metric spaces for the head and modifier, as well as a radial (continuous) projection between the spaces. (C. Berge, Topological spaces, Mineola, NY, 1997). (5)
Problem: e.g. Lion > Stone Lion: here, not all areas can be equally attributed, e.g. habitat, behavior, etc.
I 246
Metaphorical composition: even if the head and modifier have no common dimensions, one can create an image between the two by using convexity and compactness. For example, a bumpy road and a bumpy relationship share the geometrical quality of a dimension: a) the length b) the time. ---
I 247
Dimension: its diversity is sometimes seen as an obstacle: cf. Lakoff & Johnson (1980).(6) > Metaphors/Gärdenfors. ---
I 249
Noun verb combination/Gärdenfors: in my analysis a force pattern can be applied to different situations. E.g. the engine is running - the clock is running. ---
I 250
Thesis about noun-verb combinations: the meaning of the verb is modified by the patient, but not by the agent. E.g. (From Keenan, 1984, p.20)(7): a)
Oscar cut the lawn.
The machine cut the lawn.
Oscar cut the dress.
The sharp stone cut the dress.
Gärdenfors: the meaning of "cut" varies greatly between the pairs, but not so strong within the pairs. This shows that the meaning is not modified by the agent.

1. Szabo, Z. (2004). Compositionality. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compositionality
2. Holyoak, K. J., & Thagard, P. (1996). Mental leaps. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
3. Fauconnier, G., & Turner, R. (1998). Conceptual integration networks. Cognitive Science, 22, 133–187.
4. Gärdenfors, P. (2000). Conceptual spaces: The Geometry of Thought, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
5. Berge, C. (1997). Topological spaces. Mineola, NY: Dover.
6. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
7. Keenan, E. J. (1984). Semantic correlates of the ergative/absolutive distinction. Linguistics, 22, 197–223.

Gä I
P. Gärdenfors
The Geometry of Meaning Cambridge 2014

Goals Gärdenfors I 63
Goals/Intention/Intent/Language acquisition/Semantics/Gärdenfors: to represent intentions, the goal must already be represented. ---
I 64
Conceptual space/semantic domain: can be a product space of physical space with itself. The goal is then a vector with the endpoints agent and target object, or their localization. Vectors: target vectors can be more abstract than motion vectors. They can be defined in all semantic domains. The classic case is Newell and Simons (1972)(1) General Problem Solver. The target spaces can be viewed as metaphorical transmissions of physical space, with the key concept still being the distance.
Spatial metaphors: are omnipresent in our everyday language. See Lakoff & Johnson (1980)(2).

1. Newell, A., & Simon, H. (1972). Human problem solving. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
2. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gä I
P. Gärdenfors
The Geometry of Meaning Cambridge 2014

Metaphors Gärdenfors I 34
Metaphor/Gärdenfors: by distinguishing between dimensional and meronomic (part-whole-) relations, we can explain the difference between metaphors and metonymies. ---
I 39
Metaphor/domains/terminology domain/Gärdenfors: it is natural to assume that a metaphor expresses an identity of the structure between two domains. Here, a word representing a particular pattern in one domain is used in another domain to represent the same pattern. See Invariance Principle/Lakoff: (Lakoff 1993, p. 215).(1) ---
I 40
What is transmitted is rather the pattern than the domain-specific information. N.B.: thus the metaphor can be used to identify a structure in a domain that would otherwise not have been discovered. Thus, metaphors convey new knowledge.
I 247
Metaphors/Gärdenfors: a metaphor does not come alone: it compares not only two terms, but also the structure of two complete (conceptual) spaces. Once the connection is established, it can serve as the source of new metaphors. (See also Lakoff & Johnson (1980)(2), Tourangeau & Sternberg (1982)(3), Gärdenfors (2000, sec. 5.4)).(4) Metaphorical illustrations involve complete conceptual spaces. Properties/Metaphor/Fernandez: Thesis: the interpretation of metaphors emphasizes some properties and suppresses less important properties. (Fernández, 2007, p. 334).(5)

1. Lakoff, G. (1993). The contemporary theory of metaphor. In A. Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and thought (2nd ed., pp. 202–251). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
3. Tourangeau, R., & Sternberg, R. J. (1982). Understanding and appreciating metaphors. Cognition, 11, 203–244.
4. Gärdenfors, P. (2000). Conceptual spaces: The geometry of thought. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
5. Fernández, P. R. (2007). Suppression in metaphor interpretation: Differences between meaning selection and meaning construction. Journal of Semantics, 24, 345–371.

Gä I
P. Gärdenfors
The Geometry of Meaning Cambridge 2014

Prototypes Gärdenfors I 26
Prototypes/Properties/Gärdenfors: (see Rosch, 1975(1), 1978, Mervis & Rosch, 1981(2), Lakoff, 1987(3)): we can conceive prototypes of properties as central points in a region within domains. ---
I 27
Prototypes/Properties/Gärdenfors: Properties like e.g. warm or e.g. large have no prototypes. They correspond to open regions in a domain where no point can be identified as the most typical. The domain can then be divided by a Voronoi tessellation. Similarity: a Voronoi tessellation can provide a similarity measure in a domain that provides a set of categories along with a set of prototypes. This division into discrete spaces makes it possible for only a finite number of words to be used to refer to the regions. This explains a cognitive economy when learning terms.
I 28
The tessellation of the domain in regions can be finer and coarser. ---
I 42
Prototype/Terms/Learning/Gärdenfors: if we accept prototypes when learning terms, we can assume that these are within the conceptual space geometrically between the localizations of learning examples for the corresponding term. Learning: When learning, i.e. the introduction of new examples, the geometrical localization of the prototype shifts, i.e., the center of the domain formed by the examples.
I 43
This makes the terms dynamic. The boundary lines of the Voronoi tesselation are also shifting, that is, a new tessellation comes about. Categories: in the course of shifting the boundaries of tessellation (when learning new examples for terms), new categories are also emerging, but only those categories that are adjacent to the modified prototypes.
Learning: this learning mechanism allows extremely fast learning.
I 44
Errors: errors in learning are also explained: the child has only names for a few animals that are all located in the same category. Through the adding of new examples, the conceptual space animal becomes finer and new prototypes are established. > Vagueness/Gärdenfors, Language acquisition/Gärdenfors).

1. Rosch, E. (1975). Cognitive representations of semantic categories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 104, 192-233.
2. Rosch, E. (1978). Prototype classification and logical classification. The two systems. In E. Scholnik (Ed.), New trends in cognitive representation: Challenges to Piaget's theory (pp. 73-86). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
3. Mervis, C. & Rosch, E. (1981) Categorization of natural objects. Annual Review of Psychology, 32, 89-115.
4. Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, fire, and dangerous things. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gä I
P. Gärdenfors
The Geometry of Meaning Cambridge 2014

Space Gärdenfors Gärdenfors I 145
Space/Language/Lakoff/Gärdenfors: (Lakoff 1987(1), p. 283): Thesis: in cognitive linguistics, the spatial structure of the image (image schema) can be used to explain the meaning of linguistic expressions. Spatialization of form/Lakoff: we need spatial image schemas plus metaphorical images. For example, the use of many spatial prepositions is understood as metaphorical when transferred to other areas. ((s) StrawsonVsGärdenfors/StrawsonVsLakoff: Vs Spatialization of terms/FregeVsGärdenfors/FregeVsLakoff: Vs Spatialization of terms).

1. Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, fire, and dangerous things. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gä I
P. Gärdenfors
The Geometry of Meaning Cambridge 2014