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The role of conceptual metaphor within knowledge paradigms

McVittie, Frederick E. (2009) The role of conceptual metaphor within knowledge paradigms. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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The general paradigm which spans this research has perhaps best been summarised by Mark Johnson when he wrote that; 'Meaning and thought emerge from our capacities for perception, object manipulation, and bodily movement'. (2007: p.113) Knowledge, in all its forms, is a category of meaning and thought, and therefore also figures within these capacities. The main purpose of this writing with be the detailed unpacking of this central idea with particular reference to the blog The Conference Report. A major argument that I will be developing is that the particular forms of knowledge that we think of as 'objective' are thought of in that way for specific reasons, and that these reasons appear through the embodied capacities that Johnson specifies. That is, through our capacities for perception, object manipulation, and bodily movement, a trilogy of factors to which I will be adding the fourth of 'space' (implied in his use of the term 'capacities'). I will suggest that the phenomenological notion of the 'object', which underpins the abstract concepts of 'objectivity', is more complex that might be immediately apparent, as are its relations with 'perception' and 'bodily movement', and indeed 'space'. Whilst offering appropriate respect for scientific empiricism and logical deduction, I intend to demonstrate that the complexity of these capacities render certain aspirations toward the formulation of 'objective knowledge' problematic. By placing objective knowledge in the wider conceptual framework of embodied cognition through the application of a theoretical line which runs through phenomenology, cognitive poetics, conceptual metaphor, and image schema, I hope to provide a framework that allows for the organised consideration of forms of knowing which do not aspire to the condition of the object. These forms of knowing, it will be argued, may be instantiated and expressed through the medium of the blog from which some of this writing is drawn and to which some of it returns.

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