Unit Circle & Pilgrim’s Progress

You got your math in my poetics! You got your poetics in my math!

Listening to a Cognition and Poetics Symposium last year, I recognized a tool both rigorous and flexible enough to help me with my writing. Since then I’ve been trying to learn all I can about cognitive poetics, so that I can apply these concepts and techniques to my fiction.

The focus of my interest is language (poetics, linguistics, rhetoric, etc.) but I’m also reading Where Mathematics Comes From by George Lakoff and Rafael Nunez. The potential to connect seemingly disparate disciplines, such as literature and mathematics, is one aspect of cognitive theory that intrigues me.

For example, I have been trying to correlate some of Lakoff’s mathematical analysis with the literary analysis of conceptual metaphor in The Emergence of Mind.

First, the mathematical (don’t be scared, there won’t be a test):

In addition to the innate ability to subitize, Lakoff identifies two types of metaphors humans use to do mathematics. Grounding Metaphors are closely associated with embodied activities and […]