‘The Great Mother’
A conceptual analysis of mother and infant metaphors in DàoDéJīng
This paper examines the metaphorical conceptualization of the core philosophical terms in DàoDéJīng, namely, 道 dào, “the way,” and 德 dé, “efficacy.” Based on the notion of conceptual metaphor, it can be argued that these two philosophical terms have gained meaning through conceptual metaphors that have motherhood and infancy as the source domain concepts. An analysis of the conceptual mappings of these metaphors finds that human body-related terms serve as the cognitive basis for the understanding of DàoDéJīng’s arguments on cosmology, morality and spirituality. Based on the findings of this study, I demonstrate that the meanings of some key philosophical terms in the text, such as dào and dé, can be explored by examining metaphorical structures at a conceptual level. This supports the view that conceptualization arises from the embodied experience of human beings and, furthermore, highlights the role of culture when examining the conceptualization of philosophical terms that emerge from a given cultural context.
Keywords: DàoDéJing, conceptualization, Chinese culture, embodiment, metaphor
Published online: 05 August 2016
Ames, R.T., & Hall, D.L.
Chen, G.M., & Holt, G.R.
Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M.
Kohn, L., & LaFargue, M.
Lakoff, G., & Turner, M.
Meier, B., Hauser, D., Robinson, M., Friesen, C., & Schjeldahl, K.
Pecher, D., Van Dantzig, S., Boot, I., Zanzolie, K., & Huber, D.E.
Schnall, S., & Clore, G.
Strauss, C., & Quinn, N.
Cited by 2 other publications
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