The Abstraction Engine

Extracting patterns in language, mind and brain

| University of Copenhagen and St Hugh’s College, Oxford
HardboundAvailable
ISBN 9789027213617 | EUR 95.00 | USD 143.00
 
e-Book
ISBN 9789027265845 | EUR 95.00 | USD 143.00
 
The main thesis of this book is that abstraction, far from being confined to higher forms of cognition, language and logical reasoning, has actually been a major driving force throughout the evolution of creatures with brains. It is manifest in emotive as well as rational thought. Wending its way through the various facets of abstraction, the book attempts to clarify – and relate – the often confusing meanings of the word ‘abstract’ that one may encounter even within the same discipline. The unusual synoptic approach, which draws upon research in psychology, neural network theory, child language acquisition, philosophy and consciousness studies, as well as a variety of linguistic disciplines, cannot be compared directly to other books on the market that touch upon just one particular aspect of abstraction. It is aimed at a wide readership – anyone interested in the nature of abstraction and the cognitive processing and purpose behind it. (series A)
[Advances in Consciousness Research, 94]  2017.  vi, 192 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction: Abstraction all the way down
1–6
Chapter 2. Language, abstract and less abstract
7–28
Chapter 3. Cognitive linguistics: Language embodied
29–38
Chapter 4. Abstraction, metaphor and cultural context
39–51
Chapter 5. The abstraction of events in narrative and memory
53–71
Chapter 6. Pre-linguistic abstraction and projection: Perception and imagination
73–84
Chapter 7. The feel of things: Abstract emotion
85–94
Chapter 8. Neurological underpinnings: The world seen through hidden layers
95–109
Chapter 9. Abstraction at work: It’s child’s play
111–121
Chapter 10. The philosophical approach
123–148
Chapter 11. Abstraction all the way up: Its evolutionary purpose
149–174
References
175–184
Name index
185–187
Subject index
189–192
“Abstract, abstractness, abstraction: we know more or less what we mean by these terms. Or do we? Michael Fortescue, in this provocative and compelling book, analyzes types of abstraction and processes that involve them, in a wide-ranging survey of theories in linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology; placing them in the context of cosmological and evolutionary considerations.”
“The ability to abstract patterns from the particular is central to human thought and language. In this important and engaging book, Fortescue argues convincingly that abstraction is the hallmark of human cognition. Both compelling and insightful, the book brings together different approaches and findings from across the language and cognitive sciences. The result is a new and exciting perspective on the not-so-small matter of what makes us so smart.”
“In sum, The Abstraction Engine is an impressive piece of work that thoroughly examines the importance of abstraction and projection in language, the mind and the brain. While hinging on one central concept, the book spreads out into an extensive discussion of abstraction as pertaining to various fields of scientific interest, including psychology, neuroscience, philosophy and various linguistic disciplines.”
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Consciousness Research

Consciousness research
BIC Subject: CFD – Psycholinguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009040 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Psycholinguistics
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2017004877 | Marc record