Gilles Fauconnier
Mark Turner
The Way We Think
Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities
Perseus Books 2002


Preface: Fifty thousand years ago, more or less, during the Upper Palaeolithic Age, our ancestors began the most spectacular advance in human history. Before that age, human beings were a negligible group of large mammals. After, the human mind was able to take over the world. What happened?
The archaeological record suggests that during the Upper Palaeolithic, humans developed an unprecedented ability to innovate.
They acquired a modern human imagination, which gave them the ability to invent new concepts and to assemble new and dynamic mental patterns. The results of this change were awesome: human beings developed art, science, religion, culture, sophisticated tools, and language. How could we have invented these things?
In this book, we focus on conceptual blending, a great mental capacity that, in its most advanced „double-scope“ form, gave our ancestors superiority and, for better and for worse, made is what we are today. We investigate the principles of conceptual blending, it's fascinating dynamics, and its crucial role in how we think and live.
Conceptual blending operates largely behind-the-scenes. We are not consciously aware of its hidden complexities, any more than we are consciously aware of the complexities of perception involved in, for example, seeing a blue cup. Almost invisibly to consciousness, conceptual blending choreographs vast networks of conceptual meaning, yielding cognitive products that, at the conscious level, appear simple. The way we think it is not the way we think we think. Every day thought seems straightforward, but even our simplest thinking is astonishingly complex…
We discovered that the same cognitive operation - conceptual blending - plays a decisive role in human thought and action and yields a boundless diversity of visible manifestations. Coming from a different angle and with very different kinds of data, several creative theorists were speculating on the existence of a general mental capacity – called „cognitive fluidity“ by Stephen Mithen - that brings together elements of different domains. Mithen and others linked the availability of this capacity to the explosion of creativity in toolmaking, painting, and religious practice, dated by archaeologists to roughly 50,000 years ago.
In this book, we argue that conceptual blending on the lies and makes possible all these diverse human accomplishments, that it is responsible for the origins of language, art, religion, science, and other singular human feats, and that it is as indispensable for basic everyday for as it is for artistic and scientific abilities. It is our goal to do or what has not been done before: to explain the principles and mechanisms of conceptual blending.

Fauconnier Blending Links
Fauconnier Blending Wiki
Blending - conceptual blending

Origins of Language
Language Evolution

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