-- to examples of the metaphor

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COPYRIGHT: John Barnden, 1997. This page of the databank may be freely copied for non-commercial research/instructional use provided this copyright notice is included.


Mind Parts as Persons or other Animate Beings

Under this metaphor, a person's mind is viewed as having ``parts'' that are themselves people (or other animate beings) having their own thoughts, hopes, emotions, and so forth. We can call these parts ``inner persons.'' Different inner persons can have conflicting mental states, or a mental state held by one can fail to be held by another. In addition, the inner persons can communicate in ordinary language with each other or to the overall agent.

For convenience, I also let the metaphor cover a view where the parts are merely viewed as minds in their own right, rather than as complete animate beings.

It need not be the case that any one inner person is more important or has control over the others. However, a special case is when one of the inner persons is the agent's central self.

In some manifestations of the metaphor, one of the mind-parts is a special component of the mind that has long-term existence and a special nature, such as the agent's central self, or the agent's memory. However, in may manifestations the parts do not have any special nature and might well be very short-lived (merely concocted for the purposes of the discourse in which the metaphor is manifested).

The metaphor is NOT confined to describing agents who suffer from multiple-personality disorders or other pathological conditions.


Mind as Physical Space

The inner persons are viewed as being within the agent's mind, metaphorically viewed as a physical space. In this sense the metaphor is a special case of Mind as Physical Space.

Although manifestations of Mind Parts as Persons or other Animate Beings rarely mention a specific location of an inner person, there is an implicit positional factor of great significance: the inner persons are often taken to be in verbal communication with each other, so that presumably they are assumed to be in relatively close physical proximity.


Ideas as Internal Utterances

The inner persons are often cast as engaging in natural language communication. The ``utterances'' they make are internal ones, so in this way the metaphor is mixed with Ideas as Internal Utterances.


the multiple-selves metaphors discussed in the following presentation:
   Lakoff, G. (1993).
   ``How cognitive science changes philosophy II: the neurocognitive self.''
   Paper presented at 16th International Wittgenstein Symposium, 
        Kirchberg am Wechsel, Austria.


Be careful to notice the difference from Mind as Animate Being or Living Body .