Ecological Cognition and Metaphor

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In this article, we argue for the need to incorporate the study of metaphor further with newest tendencies within cognitive science. We do so by presenting an ecological view on cognition as s skull-and-body transcending activity that is deeply entangled with the environment. In fleshing out what this ecological perspective on cognition imply for metaphor studies four claims are presented and exemplified in analyses of empirical extracts. 1) The production of metaphor takes place in an ecological space encompassing mind, body and environment, 2) metaphor is grounded in a dynamic projection of structure (rather than a mental representation), 3) metaphor – or metaphoricity – is a gradable and shared phenomenon, 4) Metaphor constrains our experience and our ways of acting in the world. In general, we propose to understand and think about metaphor in terms of affordances rather than a mental ability. Studying metaphor as affordances is to focus on metaphor as part of our active doings, instead of either an inner cognitive process or a linguistic feature only. Within an ecological framework, there is no contradiction between studying the details of linguistic, multimodal and embodied behavior in situational contexts while considering the cognitive dimensions of this behavior too since cognition is re-conceptualized as constituted by actions in an environment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMetaphor and Symbol
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

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