A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

7 1. Theoretical Background: Cognitive Semantics Charles Darwin describes relationships among organisms, he does it via ideas and words related to war, such as: (1) (a) [ …] what war between insect and insect […] all striving to increase, and all feeding on each other […]. (Darwin 1859: 75) (b) [ …] one species has been victorious over another in the great battle of life. (Darwin 1859: 76) (c) O ne large group will slowly conquer another large group, reduce its numbers […]. (Darwin 1859: 125) (d) [ …] bearing in mind that the tropical productions were in a suffering state and could not have presented a firm front against intruders, that a certain number of the more vigorous and dominant temperate forms might have penetrated the native ranks and have reached or even crossed the equator. The invasion would, of course, have been greatly favoured by high land, and perhaps by a dry climate […]. (Darwin 1859: 377–378) A thorough analysis of Darwin’s concept of the struggle for existence and its linguistic realizations come later in the book, but these quotations suffice to demonstrate that the more specific and experientially closer domain of war (source domain) is consistently used to conceptualize and describe the domain of relationships between living organisms in the state of nature (target domain). It is possible to identify systematic projections or mappings between these domains, for example: the participants of an armed conflict correspond to organisms/species living in an area; the victors of that armed conflict are projected onto the organisms/species that manage to suppress other organisms/species; the appearance of a new species in an area is conceptualized as an invasion, etc. At the same time, the distinction between a conceptual metaphor (relationships among organisms are war) and metaphorical linguistic expressions (all the quoted examples), vital in CMT, becomes clear. These examples also demonstrate that the source domain structures the target domain at many levels. First, there is the language used to describe the target, which is connected with the systematic projections of elements of the source domain onto the target (in the above example, elements of war include an armed conflict, opposing armies, victory and defeat, invasion, and many more not attested by these quotes, have their counterparts in the domain of relationships between organisms in nature). Second, and more important, though less visible, is the projection of imagery and inferences from the source domain. The logic of what is known about the source domain structures the way we reason about the target domain. Thus, in Darwin’s