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Thinking Through the ImaginationAesthetics in Human Cognition$

John Kaag

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254934

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254934.001.0001

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The Evolution of the Imagination

The Evolution of the Imagination

(p.139) Seven The Evolution of the Imagination
Thinking Through the Imagination

John Kaag

Fordham University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter makes the turn toward cognitive neuroscience and contemporary studies of embodiment, specifically asking whether this disciplines are equipped to conduct the empirical studies of the imagination. Kaag focuses on the work of Mark Johnson, George Lakoff, Gerald Edelman, and Donald Tucker in order to make two related claims: 1) that Johnson's work on metaphor suggests that human cognition reflects the plasticity and embodied character that has historically been reserved for describing the nature of the imagination and 2) that Edelman's work on neural Darwinism begins to explain the biologica underpinnings of Johnson's theory of metaphor.

Keywords:   Embodiment, Biology, neural activation, Edelman, Johnson, Metaphor, Pragmatism, mirror neurons

Remember the Sphinx: A Prelude to the Empirical Sciences

As we turn our attention to the explanations of the imagination furnished by the contemporary empirical sciences, it is wise to remember the Sphinx.1 When Peirce wrote “A Guess at the Riddle,” he asked that a small vignette of the Sphinx be placed under the title. But why? I suspect Emerson (the author of “The Sphinx” in 1841) and Thoreau (a commentator on this favorite poem of Emerson) had a pretty good idea. Once again, “A Guess at the Riddle” was Peirce’s rough outline of the way that triadic relations obtained first in metaphysics and psychology and then in the natural world (physiology, biology, and physics). In traversing these fields, Peirce was intent on showing how chance, law, and habit formation were operative in the processes of mind and matter. This essay amounts to his response to the question of the Sphinx, to that riddle that continued to nag Peirce about the relationship between human creativity and the creative forces of nature. In short, it was Peirce’s shot at answering the riddle of existence. No small task.

(p.140) A quick lesson in mythology: the Sphinx—half woman, half lion— guarded the gates of ancient Thebes. It would ask travelers to answer a question, and when they were unable to do so, the monster would kill them. One day, a powerful man approached the Sphinx and was greeted with the following question: “What travels on four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three in the evening?” He responded: “Man, who crawls as a child, walks as an adult, and uses a cane in old age.” Upon hearing this answer, the Sphinx threw herself into the ocean, freeing Thebes of her harsh rule. This man was Oedipus, who, thanks to the slaying of the Sphinx, was brought into Thebes as a hero and soon to be king. We all know that things ultimately do not go well for Oedipus. Indeed, his guess at the riddle of the Sphinx eventually reveals itself as partial, or incomplete, or inadequate, or disastrous. Even in providing a seemingly satisfying answer to the Sphinx, Oedipus commits unknowing and ultimately fatal mistakes. This is what we human beings do—and do with stunning regularity. The Sphinx was supposed to stand guard over Peirce’s “A Guess at the Riddle” as a reminder of how mistaken seemingly good answers can be. It serves as a symbol of caution that might serve us well as we attempt to provide our own answers via the empirical sciences.

The previous chapter concluded with a question that motivates the remainder of this project: “How did the physical stuff of the world give rise to an ordered physiology that, in turn, over time, gave rise to the human imagination?” Working through the question of the imagination requires a particular humility, a particular type of doubt. It is the type of doubt that only the Sphinx can inspire. If, as Peirce and Kant seem to suggest, the processes of the imagination are at once continuous with the logic and structuring of nature, this humility ought to be readily apparent. The conclusions that we come to will not only bear on the field of aesthetics but on epistemology and the natural sciences on the whole. Indeed, if we proceed with utter confidence in our portrayal of imagination, it seems certain that it is not the imagination that will be described but some poor model that fails to acknowledge its scope and complexity. And we don’t want to end up like Oedipus, do we?

To what extent is the imagination continuous with the natural world? Linguists, cognitive neuroscientists, and biologists such as George Lakoff, (p.141) Mark Johnson, Gerald Edelman, Donald Tucker, Antonio Damasio, and Vittorio Gallese, as well as complexity theorists and physicists such as Stuart Kauffman and John Holland, have begun to explore this continuity. In many cases, their work sheds new light on the imagination and provides new richness to the accounts that have been sketched out by Kant and Peirce.

The prior chapters began to describe the movement of the imagination: its receptivity, its novel activity, its ability to project into the future while remaining oddly rooted in its past. They have also described the movement of the imagination insofar as they tell a story about the development of the concept of imagination in the history of Western thought. This is a story that begins in the realm of aesthetics qua aesthetics, in the description of the imagination as a primarily artistic faculty. Relying heavily on the work of Kant and Peirce, I have attempted to draw the concept of the imagination out of this narrow discipline, or rather expose the way in which the imagination naturally extends beyond the confines of the strictly aesthetic. The story of the imagination in this sense leads to epistemology and the philosophy of mind. German Enlightenment thinkers occasionally highlighted what became second nature for pragmatists like Peirce—that the process of the imagination underpins the workings of human cognition. Finally, Peirce sees clearly what Kant begins to reveal. To investigate the imagination is to examine the nature of consciousness and, ultimately, to investigate the character of nature itself. This last move, from epistemology to ontology, is a difficult one to make, but it is facilitated by the later work of both Kant and Peirce.

The transition between the aesthetic, the epistemological, and the ontological will be drawn out once again in the following section on the imagination and the empirical sciences. The section opens with a description of metaphor and image schemas. Perhaps this seems like an odd place to start, but it is in metaphor that we find an instructive case that demonstrates the way that aesthetic imagination structures and gives rise to epistemic claims. Metaphor studies—spearheaded by Johnson and Lakoff—suggest the ubiquitous role that analogy and metaphor play in the creation of human concepts and meaning. As linguists and philosophers have recently proposed, imaginative metaphors serve as the glue of human language and cognition. This work cuts in another (p.142) important direction to the extent that it suggests that the development of effective metaphor and meaningful analogies relies, almost exclusively, on the physical embodiment of human beings. Humans come by imaginative meaning only in their organic, spatial, and temporal relations with the world. The organism-environment coupling, long studied in the fields of biology, ecology, behavioral psychology, and phenomenology, grants the emergence of stable and meaningful, flexible and innovative concepts. This coupling is, in itself, imaginative in its unique dynamic.

While the following discussion begins by addressing the field of metaphor studies in order to underscore the aesthetic dimension of abstract conceptualization and reasoning, I draw on biology and cognitive neuroscience to investigate the imaginative character of the workings of the human organism acting in its environment. Metaphor studies point to, and continue to support, a theory of embodied cognition. The forthcoming discussion not only provides evidence that imaginative metaphor has its basis in the biological structuring of a given human organism but also suggests that any given organism has its vital basis in the force and dynamics of the imagination as hitherto described. This is the move that I have argued Kant makes in the later sections of the third Critique and in the Opus Postumum. It is a step that Peirce takes in articles such as “Evolutionary Love.” It is a claim that I too will make, one that arguably follows from the recent work of the empirical sciences.

Metaphor, Image Schemas, and the Embodiment of the Imagination

In Meta phors We Live By (1980), George Lakoff and Mark Johnson first argued for the central role of metaphor in cognition.2 They suggest that metaphors do not only make our ideas more poetic, beautiful, and interesting but that they provide the very structure of large parts of human conceptualization. Metaphors, often framed as exclusively aesthetic constructs, lie at the foundation of human abstraction and have meaning only to the extent that they appropriate the meanings and relations of bodily experience. In Philosophy in the Flesh (1999), they analyze the basic metaphors for such concepts as causation, mind, knowledge, importance, desire, and affection, which are conceptualized in terms of immediate bodily experience. Hence, their study of metaphor naturally (p.143) led them to the empirical studies of human embodiment emerging from contemporary psychology and cognitive science.3 Embodied experience— characterized by spatial, temporal, and visceral relations—grounds human abstract conceptualization, which has often been described as highly esoteric and ideal in nature. By suggesting that bodily experience has a foundational role in abstraction, their work begins to question the belief that abstract concepts are produced by allegedly disembodied mind or thought processes. Bodily relations and activities that give meaning to highly abstract concepts are learned over a period of time; they are learned “by rote,” literally by the heart, in the flesh and blood of human pursuits.

The emergence of abstract conceptualization depends in large part on the ability to think metaphorically, that is, to project figuratively one set of experiences (in this case, the field of embodied, physical forces and relations) onto a set of experiences of another type. As Johnson observes, “metaphor consists in the projection of structure from one domain onto another domain of a different kind.”4 This projection or mapping occurs between what is termed the “source domain” of immediate experience and the “target domain” of abstract conceptualization. The structured relations and correlations of immediate experience are redeployed in making sense of abstract concepts.

This point is made clear by a linguistic example of a complex metaphorical mapping. As many philosophers have discovered, the process of understanding is one of those abstract concepts that is hard to examine. Understanding is difficult to understand. In light of this difficulty, Lakoff and Johnson observed that human beings tend to employ a limited number of metaphors in discussing the conception of mind. One of these is the metaphor of UNDERSTANDING IS SEEING. If I want to convey that I understand a given concept, it is common for me to say, “I see what you mean.” The experience of seeing objects is mapped onto the way that individuals understand concepts since both vision and intellection depend on the ability to discriminate features and details. Plato, Augustine, and Descartes extend this metaphor in their studies of epistemology—the study of understanding. Their work illustrates the submappings of this basic metaphor. Plato’s allegory of the cave is a metaphorical description of the process of coming to understanding. His example demonstrates (p.144) several submappings of the basic metaphor of UNDERSTANDING IS SEEING. In the cave, individuals can only see shadows of ideas, which Plato describes as things that might be seen more easily under better conditions. Understanding is realized only when individuals are led out of the cave and into the light of day so that people may observe things clearly. In his Confessions and City of God, Augustine describes the possibility of understanding in terms of the ambient light that God provides. To not understand is to “be in the dark.” In Philosophy in the Flesh, Lakoff and Johnson observe that, when Descartes appropriated the UNDERSTANDING IS SEEING metaphor, he thereby accepted an ontology of the mental realm that required mental counterparts to visual objects, people who see, natural light sources, and so forth.5 The ubiquity of such metaphors seems to indicate that even the most esoteric notions can be structured around the relations of immediate bodily experience. Echoing Lakoff and Johnson’s observations, Donald Dryden recently wrote, “in domains where there is no discernible pre-conceptual structure to our experience, we spontaneously import structure via metaphorical mappings that ultimately derive their meaningfulness from their ability to match up with pre-conceptual structures.”6

While the use of body-based metaphors began to point to an embodied theory of cognition that suggests that immediate corporeal experience grounds abstract conceptualization, more work was necessary to expose the way in which this experience is structured and how it might provide a relatively stable framework for conceptualization. Inspired in large part by Kant’s work in the first Critique, Lakoff and Johnson claim that abstract meaning and highly complex forms of rationality often emerge from, and are limited by, the patterned relations that organize the embodied and emotional lives of human beings. Appropriating and extending Kant’s writings on the schematism, Johnson explains that metaphoric projection and its corresponding meaning making depends on what he terms an “image schema.” He is careful not to confuse image schemas with “some allegedly pure form-making capacity … [or] abstract knowledge structures.”7 Instead, Johnson writes that image schemas should be regarded as “recurring patterns of our sensory motor experience by means of which we can make sense of that experience and reason about it, and that can also be recruited to (p.145) structure abstract concepts and to carry out inferences about abstract domains of thought.”8

While discussions of the neurological basis of image schemas often focus on the cross-modality of particular brain areas, it is important to remember that schemas do not arise strictly in the brain. Organisms get on with abstract conceptualization in accord with a particular physiological comportment situated in particular environmental conditions. The patterns of image schemas, Johnson suggests, “emerge as meaningful structures for us chiefly at the level of our bodily movement through space, our manipulation of objects and our perceptual interactions.”9

This point is made clear in The Body in the Mind when Johnson explains the way that the spatial-temporal orientation that constitutes our ordinary experience gives rise to meaningful schematic structures. For example, in the case of the subjective judgment of quantity, humans employ, or “import,” the sensory-motor domain of verticality in conceptualizing judgments concerning amount. Let us consider the metaphor MORE IS UP.10 Here an increase or decrease in quantity and quality is framed by the primary experience of rising and falling respectively. The primary mapping is reflected in various expressions: “Stock prices are up and unemployment is down.” There are also submappings that convey the sense of vertical movement: “Interest rates soared and mutual funds crashed.” But why and how is scale understood in terms of vertical orientation? Johnson suggests the following:

There are certain basic correlations of structures in our experience that give rise to metaphorical projections of this sort. When we add more of a substance to a container, the level rises. This particular metaphor is not based on similarity, since there are no relevant similarities between MORE and UP. Instead, it is based on a correlation in our experience, of the sort just mentioned.11

He suggests that the MORE IS UP metaphor is an instance of what he calls the schema of scale; this schema, like all schemas, is a repeated and engrained pattern of experience. Johnson explains that our conception of scalarity is determined by our immediate experience of quantitative amount and qualitative degree. Like our experience of amount and degree, the scale schema has a fixed directionality, a cumulative and normative (p.146) character, and can be either open or closed (scale can continue indefinitely or end at a definite point).

It is worthwhile to spend a bit more time examining schematic orientations. All of these orientations are meaningful to the extent that they ground the bodily experience of individuals situated in particular environmental contexts. In each case, these orientations create the bodily foundations of schemas that can be used in various forms of abstraction. Consider the following phrases that employ the orientation of in-out, an example that Susan Linder and Mark Johnson develop in some detail in their respective works. Linder conceives of three basic image schemata that employ the out orientation. Here I will concentrate on only one of the three. Consider the following phrases:

Tracy went out of the building.

Cut out that section of tape.

Pick out your favorite piece of music.

Trace out the silhouette of the face.

In each case, the expression out is being employed and conveys the same basic orientation that makes the respective phrases meaningful. “Out” is understood relative to a “CONTAINER schema” in which there is a definite boundary, an interior and an exterior. Such orientations are encountered by humans every day in their immediate experience. Elaborating on this CONTAINER schema, Linder explains that the meaning of “out” depends on the basic relation of a “landmark” that remains stationary relative to a “trajector” that moves.12 For instance, in the above example, Tracy would be regarded as the trajector while the building serves as the landmark. “The relevant schema,” Johnson writes, “is the repeatable pattern of out movement in each of the specific actions. Notice that in each different case the schema is realized in a different way, though it retains a recognizable form.”13 This point underscores the flexible stability of image-schematic thinking, a stable flexibility that has been drawn out in our discussion of the imagination. Image schemas are stable insofar as they depend on the particular comportment of an organism and rely on the patterned ways in which an organism experiences itself in the world. If image schemas change at all, they change in accord with evolutionary (p.147) development. That is to say, they change very slowly. That being said, image-schematic thinking demonstrates a creative and flexible process by which basic experiential relations can be redeployed and reapplied in interpreting new conceptual data and making new expressions. As Dewey pointed out, when the old is made anew in experience, there is imagination. I will revisit this point shortly in the upcoming discussion of prototypes and radial categories.

The process of metaphoric mapping that Johnson describes is reminiscent of Kant’s comments in the “Dialectic of Aesthetic Judgment” in the third Critique and Peirce’s comments on the character of mediation and abduction. Kant notes that the bodily experience associated with words such as “ground” (basis), “depend” (to hold up from above), and “flow” give meaning to a variety of abstract usages, in a process that he refers to as “symbolic hypotyposis.”14 Kant describes this process in section 59, entitled “Of Beauty as the Symbol of Morality.” In his rendering of symbolic hypotyposis, Kant writes, “to a concept only thinkable to reason, to which no sensible intuition can be adequate, an intuition is supplied with which accords a procedure of the judgment analogous to what it observes in the schematism, i.e. merely analogous to the rule of this procedure.”15 Kant does not go into much detail to explain the procedure that operates by way of analogy, but he does seem to intimate that this is a creative process that does not depend on forms of determinate judgment. It is worth emphasizing that a metaphoric projection is a reflective process of mapping disparate fields of human experience that harmonize—and harmonize even in the absence of preestablished rules. Another way of saying this is that the premises and domains of imaginative consciousness cannot be pregiven or exhaustively described prior to employment of the mapping.

The mediating process that acts to draw seemingly separate maps into harmony has been described by Lakoff and Johnson as being “imaginative” insofar as it is defined by a particular mediation, plasticity, and variability. While reflecting these three imaginative characteristics, metaphoric mapping provides a relatively stable framework for conventional conceptual metaphors. In his work on Peirce and metaphor, Carl Hausman emphasizes the creative rather than the conventional aspect of metaphor, commenting that metaphor, like abduction, ought to be (p.148) associated with novel forms of expression and thought. He notes that “one of the most puzzling things that metaphors seem to do is articulate new insights; they create what they discover.”16 Hausman’s work, in conjunction with that of Lakoff and Johnson, indicates that our interest in imaginative metaphor should not be confined to a particular study of aesthetics. Instead, these authors intimate that aesthetics as a whole—and the flexibility and creativity that have been associated with it—may serve a central function in the development of human cognition.

Flexible Stability: Conceptualization, Categorization, and Prototypes

Their investigation of metaphor led Lakoff and Johnson to identify a type of flexible stability as an important aspect of human understanding. It also led them to suspect that this imaginative characteristic might be reflected in more ordinary forms of conceptualization and categorization. They thus turned their attention to the formation of conceptual categorization by way of prototype construction. They observe that many forms of abstract categorization depend on the existence of prototypes, that is, neural structures and neural dynamics that allow human beings to make an inference or do an imaginative task relative to a category.17

Before arriving at the neural basis of the prototype, they explored a number of different ways of defining the term more generally. At first, they suggested that a prototype is a member of category that serves as the typical instance of the category, a central benchmark against which other noncentral members are judged. A prototype is not given a priori but is entirely dependent on a given interaction between an agent of inquiry and its environment. As Eleanor Rosch noted in the 1970s, the prototype theory of conceptualization stands as a departure from the Aristotelian conception of the categories as being established by necessary and sufficient conditions.18 Instead of a definitional theory of categories that operates by way of such conditions, Rosch suggests that individuals come to establish and accept the central members of a category over time and in particular experiential circumstances. A prototype is established and modified by the exposure to particular experiential cases but also sets the stage for the interpretation of future experiential (p.149) instances. The “distance” from a prototype to a particular member case would be a function of its “closeness” to the central prototype—a function of shared qualities, correlations, or, as Lakoff underscores, metaphoric-metonymic extensions.

Although Rosch identifies the existence of conceptual prototypes, she does not address the way that prototypes might be used to provide category structure. Lakoff seems to recognize this point and elaborates on the basic understanding of prototype effects in order to develop radial category structures. A radial category is one in which members of the category are extended from a central case by means of particular principles. In 1987, Lakoff identifies the Japanese word hon as defining a type of complex radial category. Central cases of hon convey the meaning of “a thin long object.” The noncentral members of this category include those activities done with long thin objects (sword contests), communications (because of the long thin wires used), trajectories (long thin lines established by the movement of an object), and activities that are like activities done with long thin objects ( judo and koan competitions).19 Notice that these cases extend from the central example that unifies the various meanings and that these meanings can radiate from the central member by way of metonymic and metaphoric constructions. The principles of extension employ a function, definition, or analogy of the central conceptual reference point.

When Claudia Brugman examined the prepositional semantics of “over,” for example, she employed radial category structure and underlined its metaphorical extensions. In the central case, “over” connotes the meaning of “above and across.” While certain extensions are concrete and can be traced to the function or definition of the central case, such as the extension of “walking over the mountain,” others are metaphorical and convey the meaning of repetition (to do something over) or excess (to overwork or overdo). In these cases, the central case serves as a type of source for the meaning of the metaphoric extension.20 Brugman’s work shows how the source and target domains of metaphor studies might be employed to explain particular radial category structures. More generally, Brugman and Lakoff demonstrate that the same linguistic proposition can have the ability to convey multiple meanings that are related by means of a common reference point. In the case of “over,” the term can convey the meaning of (p.150) excess, repetition, and literal spatial orientation depending on the linguistic and situational context in which it is expressed. This also means that the same proposition can be applied to different contexts while maintaining its basic schematic or prototypic relation. This type of economy and flexibility has been discussed earlier in reference to the standards of abductive insight and the nature of the imagination.

Keeping these comments about flexible conceptualization in mind, it is necessary to underline that prototypes provide a relatively stable conceptual framework to make inferences. This is not to say, however, that conceptual categories cannot change. They surely can. However, conceptual reference points usually change rather slowly in light of new environmental situations or experiential inputs. Occasionally, they shift to accommodate the novel circumstances that show themselves over the course of inquiry. Only very rarely do they change dramatically in order to adapt to the radical alterations that occur in their environments. This being said, in the absence of any “special contextual information,” prototypes provide us with one of the important heuristic devices that we employ to interpret and filter what William James called the “buzzing blooming confusion of experience.” To say that many conceptual categories depend on prototypes is also to say that, in many cases, concept formation is a matter of degree and correlation, operating by way of analogy-metaphor or relative similarity and difference. These points resonate with Hebb’s rule of neural plasticity, which will be examined in coming sections. The rule will be addressed again at the end of the following chapter, when I introduce the work of Peter Gardenfors, work that points to the flexible and experiential character of category construction. We will see in the coming sections how neural architecture may grant the possibility of metaphoric and prototypic flexibility.

Stuart Kauffman’s analysis of organic complexity will be employed in later sections to elaborate on this point and to suggest that heuristic prototypes and human metaphor are rooted in primitive, organic forms of mediation, plasticity, and spontaneity. Speaking somewhat loosely, Kauffman notes that in the face of a biosphere of nearly infinite variation and complexity, embodied metaphor and prototype heuristics might be the only way for an organism to “get on with his/her business.” To put (p.151) this point somewhat differently, if the propositional content of our language and conceptualization do not have a one-to-one relation with the particularity of experiential situations—situations that are continually transforming—there must be another way of generalizing and making sense of this experience. Image schemas and prototypes provide human beings a type of heuristic shorthand that allows them to negotiate complexity by way of relatively simple and stable constructs. Kauffman writes: “And metaphor? If we cannot deduce it all, if the biosphere’s ramblings are richer than the algorithmic, then metaphor must be part of our cognitive capacity to guide action in the absence of deduction.”21

An important point needs to be made before turning to the bodily basis of metaphoric thinking. Most of Lakoff and Johnson’s early work aimed to demonstrate the ubiquity and “fact” of metaphor. In essence, they showed that metaphoric mapping is at the core of abstract judgment. More recently, they have become interested in the more ambitious project of exposing how metaphoric mapping and experiential-abstract conflation function in human judgment. The coming sections concentrate on this latter project. I am interested in the way that this mapping occurs and is rooted in physical processes that reflect the principles of spontaneity, growth, and mediation typically associated with the aesthetic imagination.

In the midst of writing a second draft of “Thinking and Cerebration” in 1880, Peirce scratched out a large swath of writing. Thankfully, the words can still be seen: “The connection of the mind with the nervous system is so intimate that the essential laws of the former must necessary [sic] correspond to those of the latter.”22 In situating embodiment studies at the heart of epistemology, Peirce expresses a sentiment that has for too long been scratched out and omitted in the history of Western thought. Indeed, embodiment studies only came into their own with the flourishing of phenomenology in Europe in the early twentieth century and only began to hit their stride in the late 1970s, with the debates surrounding the field of cognitive science. Even then, embodied and imaginative theories of language and cognition were still considered to be the weak cousins of more analytically rigorous propositional accounts.23 Only very recently have these theoretical underdogs been vindicated and (p.152) recognized for their foresight in situating the embodied and triadic (metaphoric) imagination at the core of human cognition.

Coming to our Senses: Affect and the Body of Thought

In recent years, convergent evidence from the cognitive neurosciences has pointed to the neural and bodily basis of metaphor and suggested that image schemata ought to be considered “dynamic activation patterns that are shared across the neural maps of the sensory motor cortex.”24 More plainly, the evidence has begun to show that the brain is fundamentally multimodal and cross-modal. Johnson’s more recent work in the Meaning of the Body (2008) focuses on this multimodal processing and neural differentiation that grants the possibility of metaphorical thinking.25 I will consider this evidence first by way of broad strokes and then with more detailed accounts of neural development, architecture, and function that begin to describe the embodied basis of imaginative thought.

Lakoff repeatedly underscores the multimodality of actions, highlighting the way in which motor, perceptual, and somatosensory components are coordinated. For example, these components allow an individual respectively to do an action, to perceive the action being done, and to “get the sense” of doing the action. This coordination is reflected in neural activation patterns, the study of which gave rise to the hypothesis that multimodal coordination might ground abstract thought. After exploring this hypothesis, researchers found that there is a simultaneous coordination of different neural domains that underpin the mapping between the metaphoric domains that Lakoff and Johnson began to identify in the 1980s. Specifically, recent work has indicated that there is a continual coordination between the sensory-motor domains and the neural domains that have long been regarded as the seat of abstract conceptualization. This neural multimodality has come to the fore in the study of cognitive linguistics.

Debunking the long-held position that Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas were the exclusive neural loci of semantic understanding and language production, studies have shown that the sensorimotor cortices are crucial to semantic understanding of bodily action terms and sentences.26 In his recent meta-analysis of metaphoric cognition, Timothy Rohrer employs (p.153) contemporary fMRI and ERP experiments to highlight the way literal and metaphoric stimuli activate areas in the sensorimotor cortex that are consistent with the image schemata hypothesis. In these studies Rohrer first attempts to show that brain areas researchers once assumed were only activated by spatial and bodily orientations are also activated by linguistic cues that describe these particular orientations. The neural activation detected when one picks up a box is largely isomorphic with the activation stimulated by the command to “pick up that box.” Second, and more significantly for our study of metaphor and image schema, Rohrer discovers that describing particular physical orientations serves as a literal cue that generates activation patterns largely isomorphic with the patterns detected when a subject is exposed to polysemous cues, that is, cues or signs with multiple meanings. For example, the literal expression “pick that box up” activates the same neural pattern as the metaphoric or polysemic expressions such as “turn up the volume” or “he turned it up in that basketball game.” This result obtained when other schemas, such as the “out” schema discussed earlier, were tested in a similar way. In short, polysemous cues trigger spatial and corporeal relations, indicating that the “mind” that handles abstract conceptualization can, in an important sense, be found in the bodily relations of a human organism. This is not merely to make the claim that one needs a body to think but rather the stronger claim that our bodies, and their relationship with their environmental situations, continually structure human thinking.

Rohrer notes that image schemas and corresponding neural maps develop over time, evolving to accommodate novel situations, and, in this development, actually exhibit a type of emergent creativity of their own. The work of Rohrer indicates that abstract conceptualization appropriated or co-opted the structured neural relations of the sensorimotor cortex in the development of the brain architecture that could support abstract cognition.

Gerald Edelman’s concept of secondary neural repertoires echoes Rohrer’s account, and it is a neural process that likely explains how integrative areas of the sensorimotor cortex acquire both sensorimotor and image-schematic functions.27 Edelman’s work will be instructive in later sections of this book, in which the investigation of the imagination will lead to an inquiry of biological organization and growth. For now, a brief (p.154) description of Edelman’s account will outline the degree to which this imaginative structuring—in its emergent character—obtains in the physical activities of a living organism. More simply, the architecture and dynamics of the human nervous system is continuous with, and continually structures, the life of the mind. In his description of secondary neural repertoires, Edelman helps us explain the possibility of the metaphoric process of the imagination, the mapping of particular image schemas, in highly specific physical processes that demonstrate the similar modes of organization and emergence.

Edelman argues that neuroembryonic development (the development of neural maps) can best be understood as a process he calls neural Darwinism. First, through the processes of cell division, growth, and selection, neural sites are established. These sites should be regarded as local neural regions that possess particular patterns of dendritic and axonal arborization determined by morphoregulatory molecules that affect the neural architecture of these particular regions. This developmental selection produces what Edelman calls “primary repertoires” consisting of large numbers of variant neural circuits within particular anatomical regions.

As organic agents, neurons in the embryo seem to flourish and find nourishment and particular forms of reinforcement—first in developmental selection, then in experiential selection. Neuronal synapses are the units of selection in this model. They undergo and participate in a process of neural amplification. In so doing, neural activation patterns make the rather curious journey from chaos to order. As Edelman highlights, this is a form of experiential selection that depends on environmental conditions and the behavior of the organism. Under certain conditions and in light of certain behaviors, some neural networks will be activated more than others. The differential activation of neuronal selection serves the same function that differential reproduction serves in natural selection, creating the conditions by which certain networks actively thrive even as others become “extinct” or are “pruned.” Over time, the neurons that activate in tandem become physically correlated, developing Hebbian associations that engrain and reinforce particular patterns of neural activity. In an overused expression, “neurons that fire together wire together,” creating functional clusters that mediate and (p.155) coordinate the activity of an array of neurons. Through this process, genuine Peircean “thirds” emerge, that is, functional entities irreducible to the two parts between which they meditate. Hebbian association can be described by the function given below, a function Peirce roughly approximates in his discussions of human physiology.

Seventy years later, in 1949, Hebb wrote The Organization of Behavior, in which he postulated: “When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite a cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A’s efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased.”28 According to Hebb, this correlation can be mathematically described in the following manner:


Wij is the weight of the connection from neuron j to i, and Xi is the input for neuron i. This equation can be rewritten in the following way, which will allow us to analyze its strengths and shortcomings:


This hypothesis, borne out in modern cognitive science, is consistent with Peirce’s understanding of habit formation but also points to the way in which novel input stimuli can revise these habits of association. This formula, however, is misleading in its simplicity. In the years after Hebb’s discovery, scholars identified two problems with Hebb’s theory. First, Hebb describes no process by which connections can get weaker over time. Second, Hebb’s rule provides no upper bound or limit for how strong connections can get. This is to say that Hebb’s rule was unstable. And this is where what appears easy at first gets very, very hard. Bienenstock, Cooper, and Munro proposed a model (BCM) of synaptic modification that holds that neurons possess a synaptic modification threshold that is not fixed but instead varies according to a nonlinear function with the average output of the cell:29


More recently, Byrne translated this postulate into a variety of quantitative expressions in which a neuron A with average firing weight VA projects to neuron B with average firing weight VB. The synaptic connection from A to B has strength TAB, which determines the degree of activity in A is capable of exciting in B; the strength of TAB should be modified in some way that is dependent on both the activity of A and B. The general expression of this plasticity rule is formulated by the function:30


With the development of this function, Hebb lays the groundwork for the connectionist theorists of the 1960s, who began to create models that envision brain functions as emergent with global properties that result from the interaction of connected neural networks. Hebb’s rule is also significant in the sense that it identifies growth and metabolic change as the defining features of our nervous system, features that coincide with the spontaneity and creativity that have been associated with the imagination. Several points, however, need to be highlighted to recognize and qualify the import of Hebb’s insight.

First, the metabolic growth (ΔTAB) is calculated as a function of the instantaneous interaction of two individual cells. It is the case that growth depends on the actions and reactions of both cells and emerges as a process that is irreducible to the excitation of either A or B in isolation. What some interpretations of Hebb’s rule neglect, however, in their attempts to remain parsimonious, is that these two cells are already interacting in wider neuronal complexes that set the limits and provide the enabling conditions of the cells’ excitation. This limit and enablement arises in the ongoing and nonrepeatable transformation of brain states and metabolic processes. Edelman points to these processes in his description of the creation of secondary repertoires. In emphasizing this point, we can see that Hebb’s rule cannot be easily applied to the activation dynamics of neural populations, since these complex dynamics (p.157) cannot be modeled by a mechanical rule or linear function. I will return to this point in my discussion of neural reentry.

A second point needs to be emphasized in regard to Hebb’s rule: the metabolic growth rate is calculated as change at a particular instant in time. This calculation provides only a snapshot or glimpse of neural dynamics, without demonstrating the course of events and relations that might have led to this rate of change. That is also to say that Hebb’s rule provides an idealized model of an extremely small time interval of continuous and diverse evolutionary, developmental, and experiential processes. This is not to dismiss Hebb’s work but to encourage us to extend and modify the rule better to demonstrate the continuity of neural activation and development.

This qualification of Hebb’s rule suggests that neural dynamics should not be regarded as mechanical linear functions. This said, the rule also does not support the idea that these dynamics are the products of random chance or pure contingency. To return to a point made earlier, this form of creative irregularity is irreversible and directed. As the psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz notes in his experiments on language acquisition, “Once the Hebbian process has claimed circuits, they are hard-wired for that sound; so far, neuroscientists have not observed any situations in which the Hebbian process is reversed so that someone born into a sea of, say, Finnish loses the ability to hear Finnish unique sounds.”31 The metabolic change that occurs is an irrevocable fact that continues to affect—albeit in a dissipating or decaying degree—the future transformations in the neural activation of the system. It is in this sense that neural dynamics are motivated by and arise in the creative spontaneity that has been outlined in our discussion of the imagination and in Peirce’s description of abduction and tychism.

It is worth noting that Peirce makes an identical point in “Thinking and Cerebration” in 1879: “Neural activation causes fatigue, but long continued stimulation causes another phenomenon, namely, the spread from cell to cell of the nervous activity … along whatever path a nervous discharge takes place, along that path a new discharge is likely to take place.”32 This spread of activation causes physical and dynamic adjustments in our neuronal complexes over time that are genuinely novel and irreversible. William James, following in Peirce’s footsteps, anticipates (p.158) Hebb’s rule when he writes on the process of mental association in his Psychology in 1890: “The amount of activity at any one point in the brain cortex is the sum of the tendencies of all other points to discharge into it… . When two brain processes have been active together in immediate succession, one of them on recurring, tends to propagate the other.”33 In his recent studies, Rohrer elaborates on this point, explaining that neurons aggregate over time in neuronal groups in a process that can be described by rules of plasticity but, of course, cannot be predicted or anticipated by these rules. These aggregates in turn “act like organisms that seek out stimulation as nourishment, and the neuronal groups compete with each other as they migrate along the neural tube toward the emerging sense organs.”34 Hebb’s rule describes this aggregation and lends credence to the insights of Peirce and James.

The migration and population-growth dynamics of the neuronal groups create yet another emergent property: neurons array themselves into physical patterns that “map” the various sensory modalities. This mapping refers to the fact, culled from an array of experiments since the 1960s, that particular posterior regions of the brain space are associated with particular sensory functions. More carefully stated, Edelman explains that the use of physical space in the posterior regions of the brain to represent environmental stimuli provides the incipient topographical neural maps of the sensory modalities. To reference topology is appropriate in this case since Gallistel and others have observed that the vector spaces of topology have a literal interpretation in the nervous system.35

In phase 1 of neuronal group selection, developmental selection occurs as a result of growth-factor signaling and selective pressures that “yield anatomical networks in each individual.”36 This involves the development of neural sites described earlier and provides a primary neural repertoire. In phase 2, “selective strengthening or weakening of particular populations of synapses occurs as a result of behavior.”37 The weighting of synaptic activation creates a relatively stable organic framework that underpins our relatively stable mental lives. It is worth noting that the Darwinian concepts of propagation, selection, and adaptation— concepts that underpin evolutionary theory—have been imported into Edelman’s account of physiological development. It is for this reason that (p.159) Edelman’s theory is often referred to as somatic evolution. Finally, in phase 3, reentry, a process that we will examine in some detail in the following chapter, coordinates neural maps through “the parallel selection and correlation of neuronal groups in different areas” of the brain, making possible the emergence of complex sensory and conceptual meanings.38 After multiple exposures to a stimulus, activation patterns are established in a variety of mapped areas. “Operations in these different maps that are related to the same perceptual stimulus are linked together by reentry.”39 An example is helpful in elucidating this last stage of neuronal organization. As Donald Tucker notes, “The primary auditory cortex is mapped by frequency (pitch of the sounds, high or low), not by higher perceptual objects such as words. Therefore, processing at deeper or ‘higher’ levels is required to form the perception of a word that gets meaning from the sounds.” The comprehension of a word depends upon heteromodal coordination involving numerous functional maps. This heteromodal coordination and synchronization is what Edelman refers to as reentry.

Cross-modal coordination grants the possibility of the categorization and abstract conceptualization that Rohrer identified in his fMRI and ERP experiments described earlier. In terms of the investigation of image-schematic and metaphoric forms of cognition, it is worth mentioning that auditory areas develop maps indicating increasing pitch and volume in this way. Later, as Rohrer notes, “tactile areas develop somatic maps for pain and touch along limbs; and still later, somatomotor maps develop for muscles distributed across the limbs.”40 The schematic of neural adaptation and selection is deceptive in the sense that the level of analysis shifts between the interneural dynamics of phase 1 and phase 2 and the intermap dynamics of reentry depicted in phase 3 of the schematic. This shift is confusing but necessary in order to present the emergent phenomenon of reentry between developing neural regions.

Rohrer hypothesizes that the synchronization of neural maps is necessary for the establishment of cross-modal image-schematic patterns. This is most notable between auditory and tactile neural nodes. It is worth pointing out that the development and coordination of neural maps does not stop in any determinate manner. Indeed, this neural development, with its simultaneous propagation of connectivity and diversity, proceeds (p.160) in a way that cannot be predicted nor exhaustively described, exhibiting a type of plasticity that has been described as uniquely imaginative.41

This fact is borne out in several studies. For example, in their experiments with primates, Allard and colleagues have demonstrated that organisms are free to reorganize dynamically the somatosensory cortical maps within certain constraints.42 Areas lacking their previous sensory connections were “colonized” in a couple of weeks by adjacent neural maps with active connections. Experiments conducted in the 1980s found that activation patterns in the cortex that mapped sensory input from fingers underwent a distinct and orderly shift when a finger was removed. When the middle finger was removed, the neural spaces designated for the ring and index finger would enlarge, taking over the dysfunctional middle-finger map, in effect compensating for the loss of the finger.43 What is interesting about these studies is that this physiological “colonization,” the process by which latent neural structures are appropriated and new aspects of brain architecture are utilized, coincides with a type of behavioral novelty, the ability to conduct new activities in light of unprecedented environmental circumstances. Freedom-within-constraint, that odd disposition of Kantian imagination and Peircean inquiry, shows itself in dynamic neural development. This fact may indicate that the novelty of experience and inquiry are grounded in the architecture and function of the neural circuitry of our nervous systems.

In the growth and development of multimodal processes, the neural maps continue to adapt and “learn,” taking advantage of the latent organizational possibilities of their constitutive systems. This process of “learning” is unique to the particular physical structures of individual brains. Imaginative originality shows itself at multiple levels of analysis: organisms perform new and imaginative functions by virtue of, and in tandem with, the novel neuronal organization that obtains in their physical embodiment. As Jerome Feldman recently wrote, “mental connections are active neural connections.”44 At first glance, this point may seem to be overstated in at least one respect: mental connections are accompanied by a particular quality of feeling that cannot be reduced to the quantitative study of neural activation. Feldman admits that “the pleasure of beauty, the pain of disappointment, and even the feeling of (p.161) being alive do not seem to us like they are reducible to neural firings and chemical reactions.”45

I take Feldman’s main point, however, to be that mental connections depend upon and emerge from neural activation. Mind is an aspect of biological and neurophysiological rhythm. A recognition of this dependence will force us to revise our epistemic and metaphysical assumptions. Feldman’s comment encourages us to amend at least two longstanding epistemological commitments—our commitment to Cartesian mentalism and our common understanding of materialism. First, in terms of revising the effects of our Cartesian legacy, the discoveries associated with neuronal organization suggest that our imaginative lives are inextricably connected to our embodied lives, to the patterned relations that obtain in our physical makeup. Second, what we discover upon a close investigation of this makeup is that the spontaneity, mediation, and plasticity that we have historically associated with the creation of fine art and refined thought are demonstrated at the level of material organization and processes. It is in this sense that the current study of cognitive neuroscience seeks to amend the doctrine of materialism.

Imaginative Adaptation and Mirror Neurons

The architecture of the brain, while providing an enormous degree of variability and possibility, sets constraints on the development of certain activation patterns. The structure of the brain, in effect, sets the stage for future activation that is both free and constrained. Just as pragmatic inquiry adjusts its scope and direction over time within determinate constraints, the size and boundaries of neural maps can be changed in light of novel environmental conditions, experience-dependent learning, and social interactions. This similarity between pragmatic inquiry and neuronal adaptation is not incidental but rather makes sense of Peirce’s claim that the development and growth of thinking must arise from the development of cerebration. To make the same point in a different key, researchers are beginning to identify the physiological basis of the adaptive thinking and imaginative coordination that has so often been described phenomenologically in the accounts of the classical American pragmatists.

(p.162) In the late 1990s, Vittorio Gallese, Giacomo Rizzolatti, and others began to investigate what would later be called the mirror neuron system. Their main goal was to expose the neural mechanisms by which primates and human beings might understand and imitate particular actions. As Umilta and colleagues summarize, the mirror neuron hypothesis asserts that there must be neural systems that recognize the actions of others. This recognition is achieved by matching the observed action on neurons that motorically coded the same action. By means of such a neural matching system, the observer during action observation is placed in the same “internal” situation as when actively activating the same action.46

Exploring this hypothesis, researchers identified a set of neurons in the premotor cortex of humans and some primates that provide the capacity for a nearly instantaneous response on an unconscious level both to external and internal cues. Through a mapping of particular brain areas, researchers discovered nerve nets that were activated both by the subject’s observation of a meaningful action and by the actual performance of the action.47 For example, the same neuronal activation occurs when one grips the handle of a hammer and when one sees another person gripping a hammer in a similar way. It could be said that the social realm in which emotions are embodied and action takes place very literally gets under one’s skin. In a colloquial sense, neuronal activation does not make a distinction between the actions and intentions of another and the actions and intentions of oneself.

The crucial point here is that these neural nets are unique in their ability to respond to, be activated by, and anticipate what comes next through the subject’s observations of complicated procedures. Again, to speak loosely, the neurons anticipate and react to the agency of others just as they would anticipate the agency of oneself. These findings are important for many reasons, but perhaps most notably in the way that they revise the standard understanding of neurophysiology and neural activity. Neural activity should not be regarded as a mechanical process delimited by a particular skull, enclosed in a particular black box. Such activity is always already “out there”—that is to say, always already in the world—responding, coordinating, mirroring the dynamics of a natural environment. At first glance, it might seem that the evidence indicates (p.163) that this mirroring occurs only between animate agents or social individuals. This is only partially true. It should be remembered that these agents are a part of nature and, indeed, are constituted by its dynamic processes. It is in this sense that the mirror neuron system allows us to mirror our natural environment.

Three additional points need to be made regarding the mirror neuron system. These points are, at the very least, suggestive to our discussion of the imagination and human cognition.

1. Gallese’s work on the mirror neuron system indicates that similar neural activity is found in human beings when they perform an action as well as when they imagine or think about doing that selfsame action. This fact seems to point to the neurophysiological basis of learning by way of experiential priming. Interestingly, the visual stimuli most effective in triggering these mirror neurons were the subject’s observations of actions “in which the experimenter’s hand or mouth interacted with objects.”48 From an evolutionary perspective, this should come as no real surprise; the mouth and hands are obviously crucial in the acquisition of food and integral to the sociality of most mammals.

2. Recent studies conducted by Kohler and colleagues demonstrate that neurons in the ventral premotor cortex (F5) of macaque monkeys fire and are suppressed both when the animal performs a specific action and when it hears a related sound. Most of the neural nets also discharge when one observes or hears the actions of another organism performing this activity.49 This work indicates that partial stimuli have the ability to cause more general neural outputs. The sound of a peanut cracking generates the neural outputs that occur when an animal performs the action of cracking a peanut and when the macaque observes another animal cracking the nut. These studies highlight the way in which the understanding of the actions, traditionally framed as intrapersonal and insular, might arise in and through that body’s creative interaction with the social-environmental sphere.

3. By extending these studies, Umilta and colleagues hypothesized that neural output associated with the performance of certain actions could be produced in animals by allowing them to observe only a small snippet of that action being performed. Their tests, which employed two basic experimental conditions, supported this hypothesis. In the “full (p.164) vision” condition, a macaque was allowed to observe an action directed toward an object. In the “hidden condition,” the macaque was allowed to observe the same action, except that in this case the final critical stage of the action (hand-object interaction) was shielded from the subject’s view. In both conditions, the output in the mirror neuron system was largely the same, indicating that such neural responses might allow me to, in Umilta’s words, “know what you are doing” even under conditions defined by partial information.50 This point sheds light on the way that bodily comportment and neuronal architecture might grant the possibility of hypothesis formation and resonates closely with Peirce’s understanding of theorematic reasoning, which proceeds to a conclusion that is not prefigured in particular premises.

The research on the mirror neuron system is significant in our investigation of the imagination in the sense that it begins to point to a physiological process that allows organisms to be in touch with their local situations, make generalizations from partial observations, and adapt to their particular circumstances in the continuous flow of memory, inquiry, and learning. Our discussion of the imagination has elucidated the way in which imagination allows us to “grasp” and “handle” the novel circumstances that our surroundings afford. Furthermore, we have seen that the imagination as described in the sections on abduction plays a central role in our ability to make new generalizations from partial cases. Consideration of the studies on the mirror neuron systems allows us to explore the physiological basis of these imaginative abilities.

While a description of cross-modal coordination begins to point to the neurology of the imagination, a body of literature has recently extended these descriptions by examining the neural dynamics that seem to exhibit the novelty and adaptability that we have come to expect of the imagination. More specifically, Donald Tucker’s work on the “core-shell” model of the brain and Gerald Edelman’s investigations of reentrant and degenerate neural dynamics make real headway in surveying the physical ground in which the imagination is rooted. The next chapter concentrates on their respective works.


(1) . Parts of this chapter have appeared in John Kaag, “The Neural Dynamics of the Imagination,” Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7, no. 4 (2008): 183–204.

(2) . George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Meta phors We Live By (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980).

(3) . George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought (New York: Harper Collins, 1999), 45.

(p.227) (4) . George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought (New York: Harper Collins, 1999), 48. See also the discussion of prototype effects in ibid.

(5) . Ibid., 541.

(6) . Donald Dryden, “William James and Susanne Langer: Art and the Dynamics of the Stream of Consciousness,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy 21, no. 4 (2004): 238.

(7) . Lakoff and Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh, 25– 28; See also George Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 440–444. Gibbs and Colston concluded that these embodied patterns are established early in child development and are stable across cultures. Raymond Gibbs and Herbert Colston, “The Cognitive Psychological Realities of Image Schemas and Their Transformations,” Cognitive Linguistics 6, no. 4 (2005): 347; Sinha elaborates on the formation of particular image schemas, suggesting that their formation is attributable in large part to the sociocultural forces at play. Christopher Sinha, “Language, Cultural Context, and the Embodiment of Spatial Cognitions,” Cognitive Linguistics 11, no. 2 (2003): 14–41.

(9) . Mark Johnson, The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 29.

(10) . A cautionary word should be expressed in regard to the character of this meta phor. Lakoff and Johnson are careful to state that “we will … use the ‘is’ in stating … MORE is up, but the is should be viewed as a shorthand for some of the experiences on which the metaphor is based and in terms of which we understand it.” Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 20.

(11) . Ibid., 122.

(12) . As cited in Johnson, The Body in the Mind, 32.

(13) . Ibid., 33.

(14) . CJ 3:59.

(15) . CJ 3:59.

(16) . Carl Hausman, “Metaphorical Reference and Peirce’s Dynamical Object,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 23, no. 3 (1987): 381.

(18) . Eleanor Rosch, “Cognitive Reference Points,” Cognitive Psychology 7 (1996): 532–547.

(20) . Claudia Brugman, The Story of Over: Polysemy, Semantics, and the Structure of the Lexicon (New York: Garland, 1988).

(21) . Stuart Kauffman, Investigations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 135.

(22) . MS 349.

(p.228) (23) . The term “the embodied mind” took hold in the biological sciences in the work of Francisco Varela. During the same period, Varela also helped articulate the concept of “autopoeisis,” which will be addressed in the section of the project concerning biology and complexity. See Francisco Varela, The Principles of Biological Autonomy (New York: Elsevier North Holland, 1979).

(24) . Tim Rohrer, “Image Schemata and the Brain,” in Perception to Meaning: Image Schemas in Cognitive Linguistics, ed. B. Hampe and J. Grady (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2006), 165.

(25) . Mark Johnson, The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 45–47.

(26) . Susan Rose, “Cross-Modal Abilities in Human Infants,” Handbook of Infant Development, ed. J. Osofsky (New York: Wiley, 1987), 318–362; Arthur Glenberg, “Grounding Language in Action,” Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 9 (2002): 558–565; Olaf Hauk, “Somatotopic Representations of Action Words in Human Motor and Premotor Cortex,” Neuron 41 (2004): 301–307; Evelyn Kohler et al., “Hearing Sounds, Understanding Actions: Action Representations in Mirror Neurons,” Science 297 (2002): 846–848.

(27) . Gerald Edelman, Neural Darwinism (New York: Basic Books, 1987). Edelman goes on to describe the particular mechanisms that grant the possibility of the development of secondary functional repertoires in his concept of “reentry,” which stands apart from neural “feedback.” This distinction and the imaginative character of reentry will be addressed in the discussion of the organic/molecular basis of the imagination. See Gerald Edelman and Giulio Tononi, A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination (New York: Basic Books, 2000), 48.

(28) . Donald Hebb, The Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological Theory (New York: Wiley, 1949), 45.

(29) . Elie Bienenstock et al., “Theory for the Development of Neuronal Selectivity: Orientation Specificity and Binocular Interaction in the Visual Cortex,” Journal of Neuroscience 2, no. 1 (1982): 32–48.

(30) . John Byrne, Neural Models of Plasticity (San Diego, Calif.: Academic Press, 1989).

(31) . Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley, The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force (New York: Regent, 2002), 118.

(32) . CP 4:39.

(33) . William James, The Principles of Psychology (New York: Dover, 1950), 262.

(35) . Charles Gallistel, The Organization of Learning (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990).

(36) . Gerald Edelman, The Remembered Present: A Biological Theory of Consciousness (New York: Basic Books, 1989), 50.

(37) . Ibid.

(p.229) (38) . Ibid., 48.

(39) . Ibid., 50.

(40) . Ibid., 22.

(41) . Ibid.

(42) . Terry Allard et al., “Reorganization of Somatosensory Area 3b Representations in Adult Owl Monkeys after Digital Syndactyly,” Journal of Neurophysiology 66 (1991): 1048–1058.

(43) . Jeffrey Fox, “The Brain’s Dynamic Way of Keeping in Touch,” Science 225, no. 4664 (1984): 820.

(44) . Jerome Feldman, From Molecule to Metaphor (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2006), 105.

(45) . Ibid., 331.

(46) . M. Umilta et al., “I Know What You Are Doing: A Neurophysiological Study,” Neuron 31 (2001): 155–165.

(47) . Ibid.

(48) . V. Gallese, “Action Recognition in the Premotor Cortex,” Brain 119 (1996): 593–609.

(49) . E. Kohler, “Hearing Sounds, Understanding Actions: Action Representation in Mirror Neurons,” Science 297 (2002): 846.

(50) . M. Umilta et al., “I Know What You Are Doing,” 155.