A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

15 1. Theoretical Background: Cognitive Semantics of metaphors (2011, 2014). He lists four types of metaphors reflecting four source–target domain mapping directions (2011: 346): i) concrete-to-concrete: metonymy-based, feature-to-feature metaphorization; ii) concrete-to-abstract metaphorization, in which abstract entities are conceptualized as physical objects, i.e. they are objectified; iii) abstract-to-abstract metaphorization, in which both source and target domain are abstract entities; iv) abstract-to-concrete, presented to make the pattern complete, but not a metaphor at closer analysis. Finally, Szwedek’s theory opens the way for speculation about the phylogenesis of metaphorization. The typology presented above is claimed to reflect the order of the development of metaphorization in the context of the development of abstract thinking. The grounding assumption is that “at the earliest stage of the development of mankind, communication must have concerned mainly, if not exclusively, the physical world” (Szwedek 2011: 346). Thus, type (1) metaphorization would be the basic and the earliest metaphorical process. Type (2) is argued to be a later stage in the development of abstract thinking and metaphorization. It involved the creation of abstract entities and their conceptualization in terms of physical objects: the only world our ancestors had known. In this way objectification is claimed to be part of the greatest leap in the development of abstract reasoning. Type (3) is thus the last step in the development of metaphorization. Szwedek’s claim that the ultimate source of metaphorization is the level of material objects is based on four arguments: the cultural model of the Great Chain of Being (as a model of human’s conceptualization of the world); Kotarbiński’s reism; neuroembryological evidence; and linguistic expressions reflecting conceptualization. There is no need to present these arguments, as they are treated exhaustively in Szwedek’s articles, but one comment this fashion of conceptual metaphor presentation. Another problem identified by Szwedek is that the only way in which Lakoff and Johnson relate the different types of metaphors is through an overlap of entailments (Lakoff & Johnson 1980: 94). Szwedek argues that these problems can be successfully solved if we accept all kinds of metaphors as deriving from ontological metaphors (2002: 160). The experience of teaching Cognitive Semantics to undergraduate students provides interesting support to Szwedek’s claims. When metaphor types were presented in the order we find them in Lakoff and Johnson’s book, students found the nature and function of ontological metaphors difficult to grasp. However, when they were familiarized with the ontological metaphor first, they found the idea simple and coherent.