Grounding abstract concepts: the case of ownership
How do we develop the ability to understand and use concepts such as “freedom” and “ownership”? The issue of how abstract concepts are represented is hotly debated in the last years, also owing to the difficulty in accounting how they are grounded in perception and action systems. In the last years multiple representation views have proposed that, compared to concrete concepts, abstract concepts are grounded to a larger extent in linguistic, emotional and social experience.
In the talk I will outline the main claims of a multiple representation view on abstract concepts, the WAT (Words As social Tools) proposal, and I will report evidence consistent with it. In the last part of the presentation I will illustrate recent studies on grounding of a specific abstract concept, that of ownership.