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Mind Over Metaphor

Worth more time than I have to give it:  Nick Carr’s excerpting a “metaphors of the mind” discussion from Edge’s recent “Annual Question.”  The excerpts are from the response of MIT professor Rodney Brooks, who notes how the dominant metaphor for the workings of the mind tracks society’s sense of the world’s most sophisticated information systems technology.  Carr draws a “poetic” inference from this historical link.  Metaphors influence thought, and therefore have the potential to limit our imaginations.  (“The metaphor doesn’t just describe reality; it becomes reality.”)  Describing the mind in computational terms tells researchers to pursue computational models, in other words.  Carr doesn’t explore the possible “cognitive” inference, often associated with Lakoff, among others:  That metaphor may an inescapable reflection of how we think.  Reality doesn’t simply supply the metaphor; reality is the metaphor.  Changing the linguistic paradigm is not necessarily as easy as we may think (pun intended).