Publication details [#756]

Lzardo, Omar. 2012. The conceptual bases of metaphors of dirt and cleanliness in moral and non-moral reasoning. Cognitive Linguistics 23 (2) : 367–393. 27 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter


The article discusses metaphors of dirt and cleanliness in terms of morality and immorality. These metaphors are shown to be motivated by everyday experiences, based on an Idealized Cognitive Model, this of matter in ordered arrangement, and matter out of place. When matter is in another than its natural place it is regarded as dirt, such as soil found on the floor of a house, or even body fluids (blood) out of their natural place/container, with the opposite being the case when matter is in place. The metaphors based on this ICM apply to moral and immoral, actions, actors, events, and even items such as the dirty bombs, i.e. bombs containing radioactive materials, instead only of dynamite, in order to cause major harm.