Title

Metaphoric extension, relational categories, and abstraction

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2019

Publication Title

Language, Cognition and Neuroscience

Abstract

We propose that concepts exist along a continuum of abstraction, from highly concrete to highly abstract, and we explore a critical kind of abstract category: relational abstractions. We argue that these relational categories emerge gradually from concrete concepts through a process of progressive analogical abstraction that renders their common structure more salient. This account is supported by recent findings in historical linguistics, language acquisition and neuroscience. We suggest that analogical abstraction provides a major route for the development of abstractions in language and cognition.

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