The HIPE Theory of Function

Lawrence Barsalou, Steven Sloman, Sergio Chaigneau

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter proposes that function is a complex relational concept that draws on many conceptual domains for its content. According to the HIPE theory, these domains include History, Intentional perspective, the Physical environment, and Event sequences. The function of a particular entity does not have a single sense. Instead many different senses can be constructed that depend on the conceptualizer's current goal, setting, and personal history. On a given occasion, relevant knowledge is assembled across conceptual domains to construct a relevant sense, represented as a mental simulation and structured by a causal chain.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFunctional Features in Language and Space
Subtitle of host publicationInsights from Perception, Categorization, and Development
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191718519
ISBN (Print)0199264333, 9780199264339
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Causal chains
  • Content
  • Function
  • HIPE theory


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