Although I did not touch on the history of the topics of space and spatial cognition in my article I do not wish to downplay its importance. I agree with Phillips that concepts of space are bound up in the ways people understand the world. The narrow focus of my target article should not be taken as an indication of disrespect for this tradition. I welcome suggestions on how to learn more of the diverse approaches to studying spatial cognition. It might then be interesting to explore what role the spatial representation system plays in nonspatial cognition.
1.2 This seems to be the thrust of Hampden-Turner's (1981) book, in which he attempts to map sixty philosophies, ranging from the physical to metaphysical, onto various spaces as a means of emphasizing the inter-relatedness of various concepts. Hampden-Turner argues that we can better understand the continuous and wholistic aspects of the mind and world by explicitly representing them in a continuous and wholistic spatial medium. Aristotle's methods of rhetoric also capitalize on spatial representation, both as a way of organizing arguments and facilitating memory (method of loci is another example) and as a way of seeing relations between topics that might not otherwise be apparent. In more recent times, Johnson-Laird (1983) discusses a number of spatially based reasoning strategies, such as using Venn diagrams or Euler circles; his theory of mental models in many ways capitalizes on the properties of visuo-spatial images to represent logical problems.
1.3 To conclude, I agree with Professor Phillips that concepts of space are bound up in the ways people understand the world, including the world beyond its immediate spatial character. He is also quite right to note that there exists a vast historical wisdom to consult on matters of human psychology. The narrow focus of my target article should not be taken as an indication of disrespect for this tradition, but as a result of the necessary degree of focus of such articles and the fact that I am much more familiar with scientific than philosophic studies of space. I welcome suggestions on how to learn more of the diverse scientific and philosophic approaches to studying spatial cognition. It might then be interesting to explore what role the spatial representation system (Bryant, 1992, section 2) plays in nonspatial cognition.
Bryant, D. J. (1992) A Spatial Representation System in Humans. PSYCOLOQUY 3(16) space.1
Hampden-Turner, C. (1981) Maps of the Mind. New York: MacMillan.
Johnson-Laird, P. N. (1983) Mental Models. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Phillips, G. M. (1992) Implicit Philosophy: Commentary on Bryant on Space. PSYCOLOQUY 3(X) space.2