Are abstract concepts like dinosaur feathers? Objectification as a conceptual tool: evidence from language and gesture of English and Polish native speakers

Jelec, Anna (2013) Are abstract concepts like dinosaur feathers? Objectification as a conceptual tool: evidence from language and gesture of English and Polish native speakers. [Thesis]

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Studies based on the Contemporary Theory of Metaphor (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, 1999) usually identify conceptual metaphors by analysing linguistic expressions and creating a post hoc interpretation of the findings. This method has been questioned for a variety of reasons, including its circularity (Müller, 2008), lack of falsifiability (Vervaeke & Kennedy, 1996, 2004), and lack of predictive power (Ritchie, 2003). It has been argued that CTM requires additional constraints to improve its applicability for empirical research (Gibbs, 2011; Ritchie, 2003). This paper sets out to propose additional methodological structure to CTM, a theory of conceptual metaphor in which much of abstract thought is generated by metaphorical mapping from embodied experience (Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez & Pérez Hernández, 2011). Introducing Objectification Theory defined by Szwedek (2002, 2007, 2011) ameliorates a number of methodological issues in CTM. First, the embodiment claim of CTM in its current form cannot be empirically proven incorrect (Vervaeke & Kennedy, 2004) as any mapping within it is possible (although only some actually happen). Objectification introduces pre-metaphorical structure of the kind suggested by Glucksberg (2001), constraining source and target domain selection, predicting which mappings are more likely to happen. Second, while many claim that metaphors trace back to a literal concept based on embodied physical experience (Gibbs, Costa Lima, & Francozo, 2004), it is unclear what criteria are used to define „physical”. Metaphorical domains are often described using the terms „abstract” and „concrete”, Objectification proposes objective criteria for deciding whether a concept is experientially grounded. Finally, Objectification provides grounds for introducing a hierarchical framework for metaphor typology, preventing post-hoc addition of metaphor types if and when suitable for the explanation of a phenomenon; thus increasing the consistency of the CTM framework, both internally and with other cognitive science disciplines. This thesis focuses on providing evidence for Objectification Theory and identifying its applications in metaphor and gesture research.

Item Type:Thesis
Keywords:Objectification theory, conceptual metaphor, abstract concepts, concrete concepts, concreteness, metaphorical gesture, blindness
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Computer Science > Language
Linguistics > Semantics
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:8981
Deposited By: Jelec, Anna
Deposited On:17 Sep 2013 14:26
Last Modified:17 Sep 2013 14:26

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