Franson Davis MANJALI
 Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India


"Our own body is in the world as the heart is in the organism: it  keeps the visible spectacle constantly alive, it breathes life into itand sustains it inwardly, and with it forms a system."

M. Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception

One of the good things that has happened in Linguistics and related Cognitive Science disciplines in the last decade and a half is the emphasis laid on experiential and phenomenological considerations which had been forbidden in mainstream Western science for a very, very long time. Two recent works of interest to us, namely, Mark Johnson's The Body in the Mind - the Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination and Reason (1987) and Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch's The Embodied Mind - Cognitive Science and Human Experience (1991), lead us squarely into the tradition of Phenomenological philosophy, generally associated with the continental Europe. Of these, the latter work which develops an elegant and creative rapprochement of "enactive" [1] cognitive science, Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of perception and the Madhyamika (middle way) Buddhist philosophy of Nagarjuna, will be of limited relevance for this paper, but we shall be crucially concerned with Johnson's work which takes image-schema and metaphor as its central themes.

Metaphor [2],at least the way in which it is understood in Cognitive Semantics, was discovered towards the end of the 80's. Though Michael Reddy's article, "The Conduit metaphor" (1979) may be mentioned as an important predecessor [3], it was George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's celebrated work, Metaphors We Live By (1980) which concentrated on an enormous field of metaphorical activity present in the ordinary use of human language. Lakoff and Johnson drew our attention to the fact that apart from the conscious and creative use of metaphors in poetic discourse, people use another kind of metaphors conventionally and rather unconsciously -- and yet creatively, as part of their routine use of language. These metaphors, though not necessarily forming the 'core' of the language 'system', are conventionally encoded in use, and are demonstrably, very pervasive. They have been claimed to be part of the very basis of our thought because, with these metaphors, whole domains of our experience are systematically conceptualised in terms of other domains of experience. And since they are seen to involve systematic cognitive mappings of one domain of experience, the source domain, onto another domain of experience, the target domain, these metaphors are also referred to as 'conceptual metaphors.' Moreover, a large majority of these conventional / conceptual metaphors consists in the systematic mapping from the concrete to the abstract domain, the mapping from the spatial to the temporal domain being probably the most common case.

An earlier reference to 'metaphor' as a fundamental semiotic unit appears, though in a different context, in the writings of Charles Sanders Peirce. Inventing a series of ternary divisions, Peirce had identified three kinds of signs, viz., the icon, the index, and the symbol. These are defined by relations of similarity, contiguity, and arbitrariness between the signifier and the signified (or, the representamen and the object, in Peircean terminology). But more important for us is Peirce's further division of icons into images, diagrams, and metaphors. As per his definitions, the images are icons "which partake of simple qualities..."; the diagrams are "those which represent relations, mainly dyadic, or so regarded, of the parts of one thing by analogous relations"; and the metaphors are "those which represent the representative character of a representamen by representing a parallelism in something else." (See Hiraga 1994, for a brief, but useful discussion.) Thus, the specific properties characterising the three subtypes of icons are qualitative imitation, structural analogy, and imputed parallelism, respectively. The images and the diagrams will show some objective correspondence between the representamen / signifier and the object / signified, while in the case of the metaphor icons, the correspondence may be mostly experientially constituted on the basis of a perceived parallelism. Peircean units form a regressive continuum from those which have a maximum objective correspondence between the object and the spatial/temporal form of the representamen as in the case of the image, to the 'arbitrary' symbol where there is no such correspondence at all. In this continuum, the metaphor occupies a somewhat middle position, the objective correspondence here being a parallelism that is subjectively perceived. Its iconicity is thus part-objective, part- subjective.

Mark Johnson has sought to explain the conceptual metaphors roughly in terms of the Kantian schemata. According to Kant, the phenomena are properly cognised by the mind not in terms of conceptual units nor images, but in terms of more general and abstract structures, or the schemata. The schemata "lie at the foundation of our sensuous concepts." (Kant 1988 edn.:119). They are different from images, and in fact the schemata are responsible for the production of images. As per his definition, the "formal and pure condition of sensibility, to which the conception of the understanding is restricted in its employment, we shall name the schema of the conception of understanding, and the procedure of the understanding with these schemata we shall call the Schematism of understanding" (ibid., p. 118). The schemata are structures of imagination that connect sense perception with the concepts of understanding, and thus render significance to the phenomena. In saying that the schemata are imaginatively produced, Kant was suggesting that they are mentally constituted in response to an external thing or situation. In any event, the schemata are necessary to make sense of what gets empirically represented and intellectually ordered in the mind. [4]

Johnson emphasises the cognitively central role of the "image schemas", which like the Kantian schemata, are abstract structures situated mid-way between the logical-propositional structures and the more sensible mental images. (They are thus 'basic level' categories, in the sense of Eleanor Rosch, situated between the 'superordinate' propositional structures and the 'subordinate' images.) The former are regarded as too objective because they employ arbitrary symbols whose signifier-signified relation is constituted independent of the thinking/speaking subject, and which lacks in any spatio- temporal extension that comes from a direct imitation of perceptual experience. Whereas the images are too subjective, and rich in details which may not be available for all perceivers alike. The image schemas are derived from recurrent bodily activities of sense perception and movement, which are available to man from his infancy. They can also be derived from perceptual modalities other than the visual, such as the tactile, though the visual schemata are said to predominate. Further, the image schemas are susceptible to mental operations analogous to spatial operations such as rotation, and to more specific "image-schema transformations." [5] They are imaginatively constituted, preconceptual structures upon which later conceptual processes and development take place. Because of the involvement of the body in the constitution of these schemas, they are also referred to as "embodied" or "kinaesthetic" schemas. In Johnson's definition, "an image schema is a recurring, dynamic pattern of our perceptual interactions and motor programmes that gives coherence and structure to our experience." (Johnson, 1987: xiv)

While Kant was concerned with cognitive schemas of a general and deep nature [6], Johnson's focus is primarily on the structural or topological schemas of forms and forces derived from the bodily experiences of perception and motor activity, and are intersubjectively shared within a socially or culturally definable community. Among the various kinaesthetic image-schemas proposed are the container schema (consisting of an interior and exterior separated by a boundary), the part- whole schema (consisting of a whole, parts, and a configuration), the link schema (two entities connected by a link), the centre-periphery schema (consisting of an entity with an area, a center and a periphery) the source-path-goal schema (consisting of a source, a destination, a path and a direction), etc. These schemas are derived respectively from our experience of our body as a container, our body as consisting of connected parts in a whole, the umbilical link between mother and infant at birth, and our perception / experience of movement from a starting point to a goal along a path. Another important image-schema is the verticality schema which "emerges from our tendency to employ an up-down orientation in picking out meaningful structures of our experience.... The verticality schema is the abstract structure of these verticality experiences, images and perceptions" (ibid., p. xiv). The bodily experience here is, of course, man's erect posture, unique in the animal world. A closely related schema is the balance schema, which is derived from the "balancing activity we learn with our bodies" (ibid., p. 74). In addition to these rather static schemas, Johnson has proposed, on the basis of Len Talmy's influential work (1988), a set of 'force dynamics' (FD) schemas which are derived from our body's recurrent experience of exertion of force, resistance to force, overcoming of resistance, blockage of force, removal of blockage, etc. The FD schemas proposed by Johnson are that of Compulsion, Blockage, Counterforce, Diversion, Removal of Blockage, Diversion, Removal of restraint, Enablement, and Attraction. These schemas are represented by means of appropriate figures, permitting us to appreciate their spatial quality.

The importance of these schemas, as argued by Lakoff (1987) and Johnson (1987), lies in the fact that they are cognitively more primitive than both the conceptual and propositional structures. They are 'gestalt' structures which interpret and frame our experiences, expressions, and comprehension before any logico-combinatory operation can take place upon the conceptual/categorial units. That is, they are preconceptual, and prelogical, in the sense of being prior to the elements of a propositional logic. At this level, each new experience is "figured" in terms of the topology of the embodied schema. In other words, new experiences, situations, etc., are metaphorically understood and expressed in terms of the already available embodied schemas. Thus, the body imposes its own experiential and perceptual structures on any incoming input of perceptual or other experience which are of a non-body kind. Obviously, this is a historically accretive process, and does not happen all in a person's life-time. Almost invariably, the embodied schemas of concrete objects and situations are employed to make sense of more abstract entities and events. We can easily visualise how the schemata mentioned above are metaphorically projected onto abstract domains of experience. For example, the Container schema allows us to conceptualize interiority, exteriority, or the boundary of any concrete, abstract entity, e.g., philosophy. The balance schema is the source of the metaphorical elaborations of an abstract kind such as systemic/structural balance, psychological balance, rational argument balance, legal balance (or, justice), and mathematical equality. And, the FD schema of Compulsion appears in the basic ('deontic') or the epistemic meaning of the English modal element, 'must'. One of the more familiar metaphors mentioned by Lakoff and Johnson is the MORE IS UP metaphor, where quantity is expressed in terms of the verticality schema. Similarly, TIME IS SPACE is perhaps the most pervasive of all conventional metaphors, as attested by the common prepositions of space and time, and other spatial expressions for representing time, in almost all languages. (For more detailed examples and explanations, see Lakoff and Johnson, 1980; Lakoff, 1987; and Johnson, 1987.)

We have sought to provide in this paper, a basis for understanding the spatial character of the image schemas, while fully retaining the 'embodiment' perspective provided by Lakoff and Johnson. To this end, we depend on some of the relevant points of argument, appearing in Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception (1945). We note here that the relevant issues raised by Merleau-Ponty, such as the embodiment of mind, the embeddedness of thought and language in social and cultural context, and the enactive nature of cognition have gained respectability in Cognitive Science discussions in recent years [7]. They have been highlighted in the above- cited work of Varela et al., though the authors go on to suggest that Merleau-Ponty's settling for an entre deux that discards universalism-absolutism on the one hand, and relativism-nihilism on the other parallels a similar, and perhaps more radical approach put forward by the Madhyamika philosopher, Nagarjuna in the 2nd century A.D.

We shall adopt here the non-objectivist line that there is no 'out-there' world independent of the subject, nor a pregiven world in its fullness, ever ready to be represented by a cognising mind, but that cognition is all about 'having a world' that is enacted by a constantly changing subject or community situated in a particular spatial and cultural context. The subject and the world are 'codependent' in the sense that the one constitutes the other along a constant and continuous chain of interactive events. We shall also favourably view the argument of Ernst Cassirer (not unlike that of Johnson and Lakoff) that metaphor, far from being a mere poetic phenomenon, is at the root of both language and narrative ('myth' for Cassirer). And if this argument is essentially correct, then we have to admit that all descriptions of the world, beginning with that of the initial spatio-temporal world, being caught in a web of metaphors, are essentially nothing but linguistic conventions, and that all our 'truths' are only "conventional truths" (samvrti, for the Buddhists). The ultimate truth (paramartha) of the world, as Nagarjuna had argued, is of the nature of emptiness, or sunyata [8]

Following the phenomenological tradition inaugurated by E. Husserl, Merleau-Ponty proceeds from an understanding of the subject-world relationship as an integrated and 'codependent' system governed by the orientedness of a 'situated' subject towards objects and situations in the world. There is a 'thrownness' of the subject in the world, and the subject projects herself onto the world which in turn is introjected on the subject in a continuous dialectic. It is claimed that at the base of this relationship is an even more primordial relation linking the body and space. "Space and perception generally represent at the core of the subject, the fact of his birth, the perpetual contribution of his bodily being, a communication with the world more ancient than thought." (Merleau-Ponty, 1962 edn: 254.) The relation between body and space, is thus not to be seen as the relation of interiority between an objective body and an objective space in which the former is located. Beneath objective space, there is a "spatiality... which merges with the body's very being. To be a body, is to be tied to a certain world; our body is not primarily in space: it is of it." (ibid., p. 148). Our body "inhabits" space (and time) (ibid., p. 139). This primitive spatiality of the body, in the form of the 'body image' plays a key role while we apprehend objects in space. "Body image is ... a way of stating that my body is in-the- world" (ibid., p. 101). Spatiality of the body is constituted "in action", through oriented movement (ibid., p. 102, 106). Neither the subject's body nor external objects can be seen in terms of a mere point-horizon or figure-background structure, independent of an orienting function of the bodily space. For, "as far as spatiality is concerned,...one's own body is the third term, always tacitly understood, in the figure-background structure, and every figure stands out against the double horizon of external and bodily space" (ibid., p. 101). The statement that a figure is apprehended against a background has a meaning only in the context of a subject "placed by his body face to face with the world." "When I say that the object is on the table, I always mentally put myself either in the table or in the object, and I apply to them a category which theoretically fits the relationship of my body to external objects. Stripped of this anthropological association, the word on is indistinguishable from the word under or the word beside." (ibid., p. 101)

Body and space are interrelated at least in two important ways. Firstly, A person recognises the spatial unity of her body enactively through perception and bodily movement in space. Secondly, a person's body is not like any other object in the world, it is instead, at the centre of the world. The space is in fact like an extension or organic envelope of the body which in turn sustains the unity of the body-space system, as the heart sustains the body. That is why the spatiality of objects is comprehended in terms of the body's spatiality

Owing to this pivotal role of the body in the subject- world system, Merleau-Ponty insists that external objects cannot be defined detached from the actual conditions under which they are presented to us. For example, a cube defined in terms of its distinctive properties or features, viz., the notion of the number six, the notion of 'side' and that of equality (for 'an object with six equal sides'), rather than presenting to thought the concept of the cube, introduces a spatial perspective on the entity. We are forced to "trace in thought that particular form which encloses a fragment of space between six equal faces. Now, if the words 'enclose' and 'between' have a meaning for us, it is because they derive from our experience as embodied subjects. In space itself, independently of the presence of a psycho-physical subject, there is no inside and no outside. A space is 'enclosed' between the sides of a cube as we are enclosed between the four walls of our room." (ibid., p. 204)

Just as bodily unity and the body image are understood via body's interaction with the "inhabited" space, external space is understood in relation to the body. Bodily attributes and images are transposed on to space and to the objects that occupy it. Thus spatial unity, and the unity of the objects in space are constituted on the basis of the bodily unity and spatiality formed enactively in space. The unified space of the external objects acquire body-like spatial unity as well as the bodily schemas. And since the motility of the body proceeds from the "expressive unity" of the body to its parts which perform particular expressive "jobs-at-hand" like typing, or painting, "the spatiality of the body must work from the whole to the parts..." (ibid., p. 99). Thus part-whole relation is also enactively comprehended. In sum, in our attempt to account for the spatial character of the image-schemas (which in turn underlie the conceptual metaphors) we have considered the primitive body-space relationship, bodily unity and spatiality that is enactively constituted, the transposition of the bodily unity and spatiality onto objects in space, and a division of the bodily spatiality that proceeds from the whole to the parts. This seems to be the general cognitive trajectory that governs the body-based image schemas identified by Johnson.

Note that Kant had given a spatial schema for number (for five, five dots in space, .....). Unlike Merleau-Ponty who seems to consider space and time as a common system, Kant had spoken of them separately. Space, for Kant, is the pure intuition concerned with the 'external sense', and time is the pure intuition of 'internal sense'. Such a distinction is helpful for it makes it possible to see the temporal dimension as "inhabited" by the external sense of body-in-space. This is how, in our view, the image-schematic properties of body and space gets further transferred onto the time dimension. And this could be the experiential source of the TIME IS SPACE metaphor. Besides the transfer of most of the spatial prepositions for temporal uses, we also notice a more general spatialization of time in thought and language. Time is conceptualised as a flowing continuum which 'comes' from the future and 'goes' into the past after touching the knife-edge of the 'present' subjective experience. Or, it is conceptualised as a static linear path along which the subject is marching, with the past behind and the future in front of the present experiential situation of the person. The former, the time-as-flowing-continuum schema is often the basis for the grammatical tenses, which takes the speech event as the present point separating the past from future. In the time-as-path perspective, we leave the past behind and advance into the future. It appears that with regard to either schema, there is a tendency to regard past as obscure, and perhaps even harmful. In Sanskrit, the term for past tense, bhutam, is polysemous with the word for spirit or ghost. And in many versions of "progress", classical, religious, or modern, past is viewed with mistrust, and future, though apparently uncertain, is where the utopia (literally, 'the good place') of one or the kind, is hoped to be found. These two perspectives on temporality have their not-too-surprising syntactic manifestations also. The perfective is expressed in Hindi and many other modern Indian languages by means of a compound verb construction involving 'go' as the second, or the auxiliary verb. E.g.,

Hindi: mujhe chitti mil gayi I-dat. letter get go-past "I have got the letter"


Malayalam: avan mariccu poyi he die-past go-past "He is dead" or "He has died"

In these examples, it is as if the use of the spatial 'go' verb indicates that the event of 'getting' or 'dying' has gone into the past, or has passed by in time, and hence the perfective meaning. On the other hand, we notice that the future meaning is often expressed in many languages by means of a construction similar to the English 'going to' or the French 'aller'. [9]

Metaphors are thus everywhere, even in places we least suspect them to be. It is as if a large majority of linguistic expressions have a part-objective, part-subjective character (which we attributed to the metaphoric icon, in the sense of C. S. Peirce) that is built into the semantic structure of language. In a brief work, Language and Myth, which forms a kind of preamble to his major oeuvre, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (1922 - 1929), Ernst Cassirer [10] says that metaphorical thinking can be identified as the "common root from which both language and myth spring" (Cassirer, 1953 edn: 84). Rejecting the Romanticist view of Johann Gottfried Herder that language is "faded mythology," as well as the contrary view of the 19th century Comparatist, Max Muller, that myth is the result of a basically metaphorical character of language, Cassirer argues that language and myth are reciprocally determined. At the base of the two phenomena, he observes, there is a "radical metaphor" which is not just a matter of transference from one domain to the other. Both language and myth originate in the transformation or a transmutation of a basic sense experience into the realm of "significance", verbal or mythico-religious. Both have its source in "the same basic mental activity, a concentration and heightening... or intensification... of simple sensory experience." (ibid., p. 88-89.) However, the linguistic and mythical significance, does not bear itself upon the whole of the sense data (as is the case with logical significance), but only upon a "particular essence". Because of this local concentration of significance, Cassirer notes that categorisation in language and myth is different from logical categorisation:

"Two logical concepts, subsumed under the next higher category, as their genus proximum, retain their distinctive characters despite the relationship into which they have been brought. In mythico-linguistic thought, however, exactly the opposite tendency prevails. Here we find in operation a law which might actually be called the law of leveling and extinction of differences. Every part of a whole is the whole itself; every specimen is equivalent to the entire species.... Here one is reminded ... of the basic principle of verbal or mythic "metaphor" -- the principle of pars pro toto." (ibid., p. 92-93)

Cassirer has provided several examples to illustrate how this part-whole dialectical cognitive movement works in the case of the mythic metaphor. The verbal metaphor, he says, results from "verbal conceiving" which consists in a similar process of "compression" and "concentration" of distinct and disparate sense experiences, wherein "two different perceptual complexes might yield the same sort of 'essence' as their inner significance, which give them their meaning..." (ibid., p. 95). In this process, dissimilar things come to bear the same name, and "whatever things (that) bear the same appellation appear absolutely similar. The similarity of the aspect fixed by the word causes all other heterogeneity among the perceptions in question to become more and more obscured, and finally vanish altogether. Here again, a part usurps the place of the whole -- indeed, it becomes and is the whole. By virtue of the 'equivalence' principle, entities which appear diverse in direct perception or from the standpoint of logical classification may be treated as similars in language, so that every statement made about one of them may be transferred and applied to the other" (ibid., p. 95-96).

The theme of the 'radical metaphor' helps us to see that whenever we step into language to describe our ever-new experiences, and whenever we set out to think, we are also stepping into narrative, owing to the inevitable metaphoricity of the discursive realm. Johnson has noted that the imaginative dimension of human language and rationality, responsible for the conceptual metaphors, operates in consonance with what he refers to as the "narrative unity". As he puts it, "not only are we born into complex narratives, we also experience, understand, and order our lives as stories that we are living out." (Johnson, 1987: 171-72).

To show the close relationship existing between spatiality, metaphor, and narrative we shall briefly refer to one of the emotion metaphors, that of 'happiness', along the lines suggested by Lakoff (1987) and Kovecses (1990) in their studies on 'anger', etc. While anger is understood and expressed in terms of a continuous range of metaphors indicating change of colour (be red / purple with anger), rise in body temperature ('boil with anger'), rise in internal pressure ('flip one's lid'), loss of rational balance ('to be mad with anger'), beastliness ('to roar with anger'), etc., one of the usual metaphors of happiness has to do with the verticality schema. HAPPINESS IS UP, and its contrary, SADNESS IS DOWN. And that is why clearly, one can be 'elated' or 'depressed'. Now, student-informants have remarked that there exists a popular narrative schema that closely parallels this up-down schema, that of 'heaven' and 'hell', which are 'up there' and 'down below'. (Though as we saw above, in Sanskrit, the ghosts seem to dwell in the past.) As far as we know, nobody has ever come back from either of these places, to tell us where they actually were! Perhaps, the cultural models involving hell, heaven, happiness and sadness are constructed on the basis of our psycho-physical feelings of the gravitationally significant 'lightness' and 'heaviness' of the body, and therefore they employ the verticality schema.

It is not easy for most of us to admit (as Johnson readily does) that we are all living out our stories, and that there is no real world 'out there'. But surprisingly, it seems far less difficult for us to speak of ourselves in such a way, that is, as not really and stably existing subjects. Lakoff has brought home this fact through some stunning examples from the English language, under the rubric of the "loss-of-self metaphor." [11] The self is often expressed as a possession of the subject. When the subject is in possession of the self she can be described variously as being in control of herself, as exercising self-control, or as someone who doesn't lose herself easily. Alternatively, a person can lose herself in two different ways: positively, when one loses oneself in some pleasant activity, such as reading or daydreaming, or negatively, when she loses herself in anger, fear, or some such strong emotion. The existence of the loss-of-self metaphor is sufficient indication that our phenomenal selves are conceptualised in language, as different from our 'real' selves.

It may all the same be refreshing for many of us, to think that languages along with many other cultural systems, are only conventional, and hence do not have to bear the burden of representing 'Truth'. Perhaps, we are faced with a new principle of uncertainty: we can never determine which is more conventional, our world or our language. Some may however insist that the task of furnishing Truth is assigned to Logic, which in our view is still a system that cannot be entirely extricated from the conventions of language. The failure of the Leibnizian Characteristicae Universalis, as well as other such attempted 'perfect languages' may be adequate pointer in this regard. [12]

Effectively then, we humans build layers and layers of conventional-metaphorical worlds based on our own dispositions. The Madhyamika philosophers have compared this structure to the trunk of a plantain tree, which can be peeled off layer by layer, through appropriate meditative practices, till emptiness, or sunyata is revealed. But then, that is indeed another story, which needs more attention.

The 'emptiness' is however only the cognitive and moral flip side of the fullness of 'reality', both of which are unrealised and unrealisable in our ordinary living practice. The issue for the 'middle way' is certainly not of accepting either the emptiness or the fullness of an ideal/material Reality, as the ultimate principle, but of accepting the world we live in, the human cognitive world that is conventionally created on the basis of our common sense experience.


[1] For Varela et al. (1991), the use of the term 'enactive' is meant "to emphasise the growing conviction that cognition is not the representation of a given world by a pregiven mind but is rather the enactment of a world and a mind on the basis of a history of the variety of actions that a being in the world performs" (p. 9). The original ideas in this direction, from a more strictly neurobiological point of view appeared in Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela (1972).

[2] Our use of the term 'metaphor' is, in many cases, intended to cover instances of metonymy also.

[3] Reddy argued with the aid of several examples, that in English, the expressions for language or communication was governed by the 'conduit metaphor': a sender packages some idea or emotion in suitable words or expressions, and the package is transported along a channel to a receiver who unwraps the package to "get" the idea or the emotion.

[4] I would like to mention here, Jean Petitot's Morphogenese du sens (1985), an important and excellent work that avows the Kantian "schematism" as one of its central concerns. Petitot stresses on the importance of favouring mathematisation via schematisation of the structural linguistic (phonological and syntactico-semantic) and semiotic (of A.-J. Greimas) categories, against the kind of formalisation practiced in the generative grammars. He then employs Rene Thom's "Elementary Catastrophes" for the topological schematisation of those categories. Petitot is particularly sensitive to the Kantian problematic that meaning or signification cannot be separated from schematisation.

[5] See Johnson 1987: 25-26.

[6] Kant had stated: "This schematism of our understanding in regard to phenomena and their mere form, is an art, hidden in the depths of the human soul, whose true modes of action we shall only with difficulty discover and unveil" (Kant, 1988 edn.: 119)

[7] Terry Winograd (with F. Flores, 1986) is a strong proponent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) along these lines. Hubert Dreyfus as a prominent critique of AI has often discussed these issues, beginning with his What the Computers Can't Do (1972). See stimulating reviews of his recent work, What the Computers Still Can't Do (1992), in Artificial Intelligence 80: 99-191 (1996).

[8] Nagarjuna, stanza, XXIV, 8: "The teaching of the doctrine by the Buddhas is based upon two truths: truth relating to worldly convention (samvrti) and truth in terms of ultimate truth (paramartha)." (Kalupahana, 1991 edn: 331). Nagarjuna's argumentation on sunyata, is as follows: since the subject and the object (e.g., the seer and the sight) can be shown to be codependently arising, neither the subject nor the world can be said to ultimately exist, independent of the 'conditions' that cause them to be. So, what really exists, is emptiness, or sunyata.

[9] There is interesting work in progress on motivation (i.e., iconicity) in the historical development of auxiliary verb constructions, by Eve Sweetser and Tania Kuteva, along the lines proposed by E. Sweetser (1990).

[10] Though Cassirer is generally associated with Neo-Kantianism, referring to his Philosophy of Knowledge (Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Vol. III), Merleau-Ponty says that Cassirer's book contains "phenomenological and existential analyses ... which we shall have occasion to use." (Footnote on p. 127, Merleau-Ponty, 1962 edn.)

[11] Based on talks by G. Lakoff at the First International Summer Institute in Cognitive Science held at the SUNY, Buffalo, U.S., July, 1994, and in Paris (University of Paris- IV) May, 1995.

[12] U. Eco (1995) presents a detailed study of these attempts as they emerged in Europe during different historical periods. Many of these were attempts to solve the problem of polyglossia or the 'confusion of tongues'. The common assumption was that the meanings/concepts are universal, and only the linguistic forms could vary. There seem to be no evidence of any attempt to solve the other problem of the 'confusion of meanings', or polysemia, arising from the metaphorical semantic extensions of the same form. Nevertheless, it is logically conceivable that by adhering to the principle of one meaning - one form, both problems would have been solved in one stroke. But this was not to be, presumably owing to the deep-seated cultural factors that render the semantic domain of human languages both unpredictable and unwieldy for such a treatment. Coming in the second half of the 18th century, Leibniz's approach differed from many of the previous approaches that wanted to tackle the Babel syndrome. Leibniz thought that the cause of universal peace "might be better served by science, and by the creation of a scientific language which might serve as a common instrument in the discovery of truth." (Eco, 1995: 271)


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You can address your comments and suggestions to: manidipa@vsnl.com

 December 1996 for the e-edition.

Bibliographical reference: MANJALI, Franson. On the Spatial Basis of Conceptual Metaphors. Texto ! December 1996 [online]. Available from : <http://www.revue-texto.net/Inedits/Manjali_Metaphor.html>. (Cited ...).