The Abstraction Engine

Extracting patterns in language, mind and brain

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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)

Subjects: Consciousness research; Cognition and language; Psycholinguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Copenhagen and St Hugh’s College, Oxford

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