A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

8 A Cognitive Semantics Approach to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution reasoning, the struggle between organisms carries the implication that those that survive the “great battle of life” are somehow better than those that were defeated: (2) (a) [ …] if any species does not become modified and improved in a corresponding degree with its competitors, it will soon be exterminated. (Darwin 1859: 102) (b) I do not doubt that this process of improvement has affected in a marked and sensible manner the organisation of the more recent and victorious forms of life, in comparison with the ancient and beaten forms; but I can see no way of testing this sort of progress. (Darwin 1859: 337) Highlighting the role of mapping inferences is an important contribution of CMT to the study of metaphor. As Grady put it, on one level, inference mapping is another illustration of the richness of the conceptual structures upon which metaphorical usages are based. On another, it is a strong demonstration that metaphor is more than an innovative use of language or of the figurative application of a single term to a new referent. (2007: 191) It is inference mapping that is of particular importance in any analysis of metaphors in scientific discourse in general, and in the current study of the evolutionary discourse in particular. Research into the complexity of the mappings between source and target domains has led to the observation that, despite the theoretical possibility of creating metaphorical connections between any two domains (see Black [1955] 1981 and Davidson 1978 for views on unconstrained nature of metaphor), actual linguistic data reveals visible regularities and constraints. One such regularity concerns the unidirectionality of metaphorical mappings, noted by Lakoff and Johnson (1980: 112). It highlights the tendency to conceptualize abstract concepts in terms of physical experience or the tendency to map perceptual concepts onto non-perceptual ones, especially consistent in primary metaphors (Grady 1997, Lakoff & Johnson 1999), as well as the non-reversibility of source and target domain. The perceptual/non-perceptual asymmetry has already been discussed in connection to the embodiment hypothesis, so let us now focus on the non-reversibility of metaphorical mappings. As an illustration, Grady observes that while the concept of weather can be used metaphorically to reason and talk about economic or political situations, “the reverse metaphor is not possible, linguistically or conceptually (e.g., the nonsensical idea of referring to an actual