A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

1. Theoretical Background: Cognitive Semantics 1.0. Introduction This chapter focuses on the main assumptions and numethodology of Cognitive Semantics and related approaches to language. The first and largest section of this chapter gives an account of the Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT). While there is no need to repeat after handbooks on conceptual metaphor, its main tenets and terminology must be presented for readers less familiar with this branch of linguistics. This section also covers the axiological aspects of metaphorization discussed by Krzeszowski (1997) and Szwedek’s theory of objectification (e.g. 2000, 2002, 2011a). It ends by addressing criticism directed towards both the methodology and core assumptions of CMT. Sections 1.2. and 1.3. are devoted to theories which either extend and amend CMT (Blending Theory) or, while not part of Cognitive Semantics as such, provide useful tools for the analysis (Force Dynamics). The last part of the chapter briefly outlines the ways in which the methodology of Cognitive Semantics will be applied in the analysis of evolutionary theory. 1.1. The Conceptual Metaphor Theory The publication of Metaphors We Live By in 1980 by Lakoff and Johnson can be considered a symbolic milestone in metaphor studies. While acknowledging the role of earlier studies (e.g. by Richards [1936] 1964 or Black [1955] 1981), it can be safely said that Lakoff and Johnson have put a spotlight on metaphor study for the next few decades, and stimulated interest in metaphorical language in areas of research outside of linguistics. The core understanding, content, and terminology related to conceptual metaphor in this book come from Metaphors We Live By, because, although the body of research since the time of its first publication is enormous and the theory of conceptual metaphor has undergone significant modification, the ideas presented there have become well-established and widely used, even by critics.