Introduction

  • Robert E. Innis
Part of the Cognition and Language book series (CALS)

Abstract

The chief presupposition and organizing principle of this book, which is devoted to studying the real psychological processes involved in the human use of language, is encapsulated in I. M. Schleslnger’s striking phrase: “Human nature abhors a semantic vacuum.” At every point and at every level in human intercourse with language we find operating a drive toward sense and meaning, a “pull of meaningfulness,” which is not restricted to language and articulation as such but is also delineated in perception and action as well. One of Hörmann’s main theses is that just as a size constancy, a color constancy, a brightness constancy, and other constancies account for the presence of an organized and coherent world within which the human organism operates, so there exists in the human intentional system a factor of “sense constancy,” an ultimate semantic function, an overarching interpretative and constructive mechanism, which permeates all attempts to render linguistic utterances intelligible. It underlies all comprehending dealing with language, supporting our ability to apply language to novel situations, to make semantic anomalies perspicuous, and to grasp the point in a metaphor, whether creative, when discourse makes itself visible, or in the normal processes of concept formation which are themselves permeated by metaphorical factors.

Keywords

Language User Language Game Color Constancy Linguistic Meaning Perceptual Field 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

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  • Robert E. Innis

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