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Title: Metaphor, theories of concepts and biological reductionism
Author: Rakova, Marina
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis is an attempt to present a multidisciplinary approach to adjectival polysemy, particularly adjectival polysemy of a metaphorical type, and its underlying conceptual structure. The last ten years have clearly shown a tendency towards reducing the number of meanings and the idea of metaphor as a mechanism of concept formation has been gaining much force, influencing research in linguistics, psychology and cognitive science. Despite that fact, the long-standing tradition of analytic philosophy did not succumb to the attack. However few contentions are shared in these different fields, one is held unquestioningly by almost everyone. It is the literal-metaphorical distinction which is at the heart of both traditional philosophy and the theory of embodied realism. Drawing extensively on evidence from research on cross-modal perception, synesthesia, double-function terms in cross-cultural studies, child development, psycholinguistic experiments and experiments with brain-damaged subjects, reinterpreting the available data and analyzing in detail theories of concepts contained in cognitive linguistics, lexical semantics and informational semantics, the thesis casts doubt on the validity of the literal-metaphorical distinction, for this class of examples. It stipulates the existence of psychological primitive concepts, which are likely to be atomic and innate, and offers a no-polysemy view of conceptual structure with implications for linguistic polysemy. It also shows the limits of biological reductionism and emphasizes the need for functional approaches to cognition. The proposed alternative is both unexpected and exciting, and may serve as a basis for bringing together empirical evidence and philosophical coherence in a non-contradictory way.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available