A Socio-Cultural History of the Machine Metaphor
Review of Cognitive Linguistics (2013), 11, 1, p. 145-162
25 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2013 Last revised: 24 Nov 2014
Date Written: July 15, 2013
In Michelangelo Antonioni’s film “Blow-up”, a scene of affection, after enlarging the negatives, transforms into a scene of an attempted or an actual murder. It seems a good image to characterize the change of the initial view of conceptual metaphor from a more precise perspective. The conceptual metaphor theory emerged with the claim that primary metaphors, such as Categories Are Containers, More Is Up, Affection Is Warmth, and even Time Is Money, were determined by the fundamental constants of our perceptual experience; hence, they could not change or evolve, and had no history. Later, however, plenty of studies have provided strong evidence that such metaphors, being much more complicated structures, essentially rest on the cultural-historical ground. The article can be considered as a step in this direction. It addresses the machine metaphor as a cultural-historical phenomenon examining its development from Antiquity to Early Modernity. The author reveals that conceptual machine metaphor appears in the Middle Ages, long before Newton and the Industrial Revolution, in the wake of the transformation of basic elements of the cultural model from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.
Keywords: conceptual metaphor theory, machine metaphor, cultural-historical perspective, Antiquity, the Middle Ages
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