PT and Extended Metaphors

Electron/Proton Example (cont.)

We'll also need to tell PT some literal facts about what 'loving' and 'hating' mean. To do this, it's best to change PT's knowledge of meaning relationships using the 'modify abilities' command. This command gives us the best access to defining how words relate to one another for PT; we'll tell her two very general things about love and hate:

Modify Abilities

Now PT can begin to draw conclusion. Based on our metaphorical input, PT deduces (with some prodding) that (1) electrons avoid other electrons:

PT's response

(2) that electrons approach protons:

PT's response

and (3) that protons approach electrons:

PT's response

Of course, theoretically the love/hate metaphor could be extended even further using PT (e.g., protons gathered in the nucleus have made peace with one another, neutrons are indifferent toward everyone, etc.). The challenge in making some of these extensions, though, lies in always making the logical connections explicit. That is, if we wish to express the same ideas using different language (for example, using 'making peace' or 'getting along together' as a different way of describing 'love') these linguistic connections would need to be made explicit using new meaning relationships.

In this example, the idea behind giving PT knowledge of love and hate in the general sense, using new meaning relationships, was to approximate the processes of human metaphorical interpretation as closely as possible. That is, our goal is to make PT draw from her knowledge in one domain (that of human love/hate interactions) and apply it to a new domain (the behavior of subatomic particles). Admittedly, PT does not 'understand' what it means to love or hate from one or two meaning relations. But PT's simple approach at least begins to model natural language speakers' ability to make links between one interconnected set of meanings and an altogether different set.

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