A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

10 A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution example, English provides many linguistic expressions which arise from the up–down schema and which consistently demonstrate positive and negative valuation: Positive/up He has risen to the top. She is in high spirits. This is a heart-lifting moment. It was a top performance. Negative/down He fell into depression. He dropped dead. He fell into the abyss of depravity. (Krzeszowski 1997: 113) Another example of axiological charge inherent in an image schema discussed by Krzeszowski and relevant in the subsequent analysis is the source– path–goal schema. According to Krzeszowski: This schema is primarily experienced in oriented (directed) motion, i.e. changing the position of one’s body in space from some initial place called source along some path to(ward) some destination called goal. The schema underlies the abstract, positively valued concept <purpose>, which is grounded in our experience of reaching a goal. Therefore, the schema is instantiated not only by all kinds of directed physical movement but also by various kinds of abstract movements as components of various actions. (1997: 124) The structural complexity of the source–path–goal schema is also reflected in its axiological complexity. Firstly, the positive charge is attached to the goal subschema. Additionally, the axiological value is attached to the distance between the trajector and the goal, and is graded according to the parameter: the closer to the goal, the higher the positive value. Secondly, the positive valuation of goal interplays with the valuation of the subschema path. Because goal is always plus, the path leading to it can have a plus or minus value, depending on whether or not it is straight. Since reaching a goal involves oriented motion along a path — says Krzeszowski — and since goal is plus, in most situations the path which is the shortest is also the best inasmuch it allows to reach the desired goal most expediently. Therefore, a straight path is valued more than a twisted one. (1997: 125) Krzeszowski also claims that metaphorization not only preserves the plus–minus parameter of image schemas, but also reinforces the positive or