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How does a physical brain give rise to thought and language?



A brief intro to the topic of Embodied Simulation:

When we simulate, we create mental experiences of sense perceptions (visual images, sounds, music, tastes, smells) and actions without them being present. Embodied simulation (also called embodied cognition) is the theory that we create and comprehend language by mentally simulating the experience that the language describes through our memories of our most comparable physical experiences. When we are engaged in embodied simulation, research shows we 'prod' the areas of the brain that deal with actions and perceptions that have unconsciously collected all our experiences and actions, and reawaken them.


That Inward Eye: Embodied Simulation, Language and the Brain
| Larissa Dahl

  • Every action, thought and perception, every bit of language that we encounter or produce, is rooted in our experiences and also in our body. And it’s not just the literal interpretation of one word after another. 

  • Our inward eye allows us to understand language — to do everything that we do with language — and it happens automatically and dynamically.

  • Language uses your whole body and your experiences and everything that you are to process, understand and produce it... 

Prof. Mark Johnson at Oregon University: Language and Embodied Mind

  • "Aesthetics lies at the heart of our very capacity to make meaning, to have any experience at all.” 

  • “Human meaning…goes beneath the depths of language into the depths of our engagement with the world."

  • If you want to understand human meaning and communication, and experience, cognition, values—you have to delve deeply into the body, and the way the body engages its environment, to see how meaning is built up from that...

George Lakoff: How Brains Think: The Embodiment Hypothesis

  • From the neural computational model to thought and language.

  • Before consciousness, your brain unconsciously changes what you perceive, or what you think. 

  • Complex metaphorical thought: Complex metaphor systems integrate the whole thing, put them together and form a single unified understanding of each metaphor which applies independently. Each has a logic, and their logics are integrated.  ("Glass ceiling" example at 1:13:50--1:17:50).

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