A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

18 A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution or managed by an outside source.” Thus, as Gibbs claims, “metaphorical patterns in language, […] are not products of a specialized mechanism, but self-assemble and are emergent from the dynamical interaction of simpler components that may initially have little to do with metaphor per se” (2012: 350). Consequently, “people’s production and understanding of metaphoric language may best be characterized as self-organizing processes that reflect the operation of an entire system (i.e. a brain and body interacting with an environment)” (2012: 353). 1.1.7. Challenges to CMT In Gibbs’ enthusiastic opinion, “no single theoretical perspective in all of cognitive science has as much explanatory power as does CMT” (2009: 16). However, since its emergence, its theoretical claims, empirical adequacy, and research methodology have been subject to criticism. Although some critical views can be discarded as resulting from lack of comprehensive and up-todate knowledge of the vast and diverse CMT research (see Gibbs 2009: 17), some negative remarks deserve attention. Some refutations and an extended overview of criticism from several angles can be found in Gibbs (2009); here, only those objections that are relevant for the current analysis are presented. One group of charges targets data analysis and presentation. According to Gibbs, many scholars complain about analyses based on isolated examples constructed by the research analyst. What is more, even linguistic material gathered from dictionaries and texts “suffers from strong confirmation bias: individual linguistic expressions are selectively chosen and advanced as evidence in favour of one conceptual metaphor or other” (2009: 19). Such criticism is justified at least to a certain degree, however, all scientific research seems to be vulnerable to confirmation bias, no matter how rigorous its methodology: researchers find what they are looking for, and what they present is what they found relevant from the point of view of the theory and methodology they use. Thus, orthodox Generative scholars focus on syntax and find it methodologically justified to ignore the semantic dimension, and scholars working within the CMT framework focus on metaphorical linguistic expressions. Another problem is very practical and concerns the presentation of data and their interpretation faced especially by CMT researchers who investigate a large body of coherent discourse. Considering the size of their material, they have to select what to present and inevitably end up with what seems to be “a list of individual linguistic expressions selectively chosen