Thinking in maps: from the Lascaux caves to knowledge graphs – Anne-Laure le Cunff, Ness Labs

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Thinking in maps: from the Lascaux caves to knowledge graphs

Thinking in maps: from the Lascaux caves to modern knowledge graphs

Anne-Laure Le Cunff • Reading time: 18 minutes

What do hieroglyphs, flowcharts, road signs, and knowledge graphs have in common? They’re all thinking maps. Humans have been thinking in maps since the very first symbolic communication systems.

While thinking in maps may first bring to mind the idea of cartography, a map does not need to be geographic—it can be any symbolic depiction of the relationship between elements of some physical or mental space, such as themes, objects, or areas.

In the December 2007 edition of Philosophy of Mind, Professor Elisabeth Camp, whose research has focused on forms of thoughts that do not fit standard models, wrote: “Thinking in maps is substantively different from thinking in sentences.”

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Thinking in maps: from the Lascaux caves to knowledge graphs