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Space and Time: Relationships among Language, Body, and Mind


How do we construct our knowledge of abstract concepts like justice, free-will, or time that we cant physically experience? To what extent can language, and in particular, linguistic metaphor, shape our mental representations? These are core questions for two prominent lines of work in Cognitive Science – one focused on metaphor, and the other on the relationship between language and thought. The experiments I’ll discuss use the domain of time to bridge these two lines of work. The studies shed light on metaphor’s capacity to create nonlinguistic representations that are flexible and dynamic. The relationship between linguistic metaphor and mental representation is bidirectional: metaphors in language can create new ways of thinking, and preexisting patterns in thought can give rise to new linguistic metaphors.

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