A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

4 A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution The other major meaning of embodiment mentioned by Rohrer (2007) relates to the physiological and neurophysiological substrate and is realized, among others, by studies investigating the neural structures and regions of the brain involved in metaphorical projection and image schema integration, as well as research in cognitive robotics. While we acknowledge the importance of this direction of research, it is not the concern of this study, and whenever the term e mb o d i m e n t is used in this book, it is in the experiential sense. We also follow Johnson (1987) in his understanding of the term e x p e r i e n c e : “Experience” is to be understood in a very rich, broad sense as including basic perceptual, motor-program, emotional, historical, social, and linguistic dimensions. […] [E]xperience involves everything that makes us human – our bodily, social, linguistic, and intellectual being combined in complex interactions that make up our understanding of our world. (Johnson 1987: xvi) Consequently, both e mb o d i m e n t and e x p e r i e n c e are given very wide scope in CMT, not limited in any way to biological endowment. Let us stop for a while to look at embodiment from a wider perspective of the mind and body dualism. The dichotomy between the mind and body is part of a series of dichotomies identifiable in the Western philosophical tradition. They include the opposition between our conceptual and perceptual, formal and material, rational and emotional side. As Johnson puts it, the consequence of these systematic dichotomies is that all meaning, logical connection, conceptualization, and reasoning are aligned with the mental or rational dimension, while perception, imagination, and feeling are aligned with the bodily dimension. As a result, both nonpropositional and figuratively elaborated structures of experience are regarded as having no place in meaning and the drawing of rational inferences. (1987: xxv) The mind-body dualism, present in the Ancient and Christian traditions, became an important part of Cartesian philosophical system. Descartes argued that “the world consists of physical substances (bodies) and mental substances (minds)” and that rationality is essentially disembodied, as “the body does not play a crucial role in human reasoning” (in Johnson 1987: xxvi). Such views gave rise to two kinds of problem, one ontological, the other epistemological. The ontological problem pertains to the question of how to bridge the gap between mind and body, reason and sensation, if they are taken to be separate. The epistemological problem concerns the source of certain