The Way We Think

| Jacket Description

From Basic Books

Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner

The Way We Think:
Conceptual Blending and the Mind's Hidden Complexities

"A fundamental contribution to cognitive science."
- Cognitive Linguistics, 15:4 (2004)

"What they have done is to uncover a function of the brain and show its remarkable richness and complexity. After reading their book I'm more convinced than ever that Einstein was right when he said imagination is more important than knowledge."
- David Brooks, in The Atlantic Monthly, December 2002. Read the full review.

"The writing is lively and the examples are plentiful . . . The analyses of language are insightful and mostly convincing, the diagrams are helpful, and the jokes are entertaining. Any student of thought and language will learn a
great deal from this fascinating book."
- John Perry, Stanford University, in The American Scientist, December 2002.

"An absorbing read for any nonscience person. The authors support their claims with hundreds of field cases - from the mundane to the lurid."
- Wired Magazine, April 2002.

Review in Science and Consciousness Review

“With this book, Mark Turner and Gilles Fauconnier make a new and compelling argument for the importance of imagination in our conceptual lives. Written in lucid and lively prose, this book encourages us to re-think the thoughts that occupy our everyday world, and to connect them to the most profound accomplishments of the human mind.”
- Lawrence Zbikowski, author of Conceptualizing Music

“Over the last two decades, cognitive linguists have mapped out the basic elements of thought -- image-schemas, frames, conceptual metaphors and metonymies, prototypes, mental spaces. Now Fauconnier and Turner have filled in the last piece of the puzzle: conceptual blending, the mental mechanism that binds together and integrates these elements into complex ideas. The Way We Think is a dazzling tour of the complexities of human imagination.”
- George Lakoff, co-author of Philosophy in the Flesh and Where Mathematics Comes From



“This wonderful and stylish book, which deals with the deeper layers of the human imagination, is one of those rare works in cognitive science that fully acknowledge the subtlety and complexity of creative thinking. It is illustrated richly with examples drawn from art, literature, mathematics, and daily life. This is exactly the approach—rigorous synthesis of science and the humanities —that will be needed, if we are to understand the special powers of the human mind.”
- Merlin Donald, author of A Mind So Rare and Origins of the Modern Mind.

"If you seek challenging phenomena to explain or wish to be further impressed with the human mind, conceptual blends are for you. These remarkable cognitive gymnastics are not only astonishingly complex and sophisticated, they are ubiquitous, arising across the spectrum of human accomplishment. Fauconnier and Turner's analyses of conceptual blends will provoke and broaden your thinking."
- Lawrence W. Barsalou, Past Chair, Cognitive Science Society

"This book gives us deep insights into clinical processes known from Freud to the present but never really explained. In the age of cognitive science, this book must be read by psychoanalysts and psychotherapists interested in developing their field."
- Marco Casonato, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy.

“Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner elaborate a comprehensive theory of conceptual blending that goes to the heart of how we think about what we think. Everyone who is interested in the nature and artifacts of human consciousness should read this pioneering and profoundly revolutionary book.”
- Donald C. Freeman, University of Southern California

Cloth ISBN 046508785X
Paper ISBN 0465087868
Available from (cloth, paper); Basic Books.

From the jacket

Until recently, cognitive science has focused on such mental functions as problem solving, grammar, and pattern recognition - the functions, in other words, in which the human mind most resembles a computer.
But human beings are more than computers: we invent new meanings, make discoveries, have new ideas that never existed before, and use our powerful imaginations routinely in everyday life. Cognitive science, at last, is focusing on these mysterious, creative aspects of the mind.
A major statement by two of the world's leading cognitive scientists, The Way We Think is a landmark analysis of the imaginative nature of the human mind. The research program of conceptual blending is already widely known; this book, written to be accessible to lay readers and students as well as interested scientists, is its definitive statement.Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner show that conceptual blending is at the root of the cognitively modern human mind - the mind that human beings have worked with since the Upper Paleolithic Age. Conceptual blends themselves are repeatedly blended and reblended by people and their cultures to create the rich fabric of the way we live. Learning and navigating these blends is the crucial mental activity of the developing child. The Way We Think shows how blending operates; how it is affected by (and gives rise to) language, identity, culture, and invention; and how we imagine what could be and what might have been. The result is a bold and exciting new view of how the mind works.

Home Page: Gilles Fauconnier
Home Page: Mark Turner