Some Reflections on the Origin of Reason Through an Outline of the Genealogy of Language in the Light of Homonymity, Analogy, and Metaphor

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The origin of reason through an outline of the genealogy of language in the light of homonymity, analogy, and metaphor.
In this chapter, I try to show that reason as a cognitive capacity primarily functions through the use of homonyms. The argument is based on the fact that experience is created through the chiastic interrelation between world and body-mind as it is documented by the historical precedence of the verb in relation to the substantive. This creative modus operandi invests the mind with a catalogue of virtual aspects of sense incorporated in the word complex which represents them centered in the root. Thus, a Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root like “*ghabh-” contains the double sense of “to hold,” which is either to take, and grasp, or to give and yield. This metaphorical core sense—probably inferred from the hand, since gabhasti means “hand” or “forearm” in Sanskrit —produces other aspects of sense like “begivenhed” in Danish, meaning “event,” and also “habit,” the way to “have,” or to accommodate oneself to the occurrences in life. What I claim is that reason is the capacity to understand and hence by meta-reflection to choose deliberately between such senses, in particular relating to their value basis, because reason also is involved as their principle of origin—qua practical reason—through which this metaphorical richness was originally coined. These principles of construction and deconstruction may also be applied to the analysis of reason itself since it also has a homonymic basis in the metaphors of air and light.
TitelInterdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society
RedaktørerAlessandro Capone, Jacob L. Mey
Antal sider24
Udgivelses stedHeidelberg
ForlagSpringer Science+Business Media
ISBN (Trykt)9783319126159
ISBN (Elektronisk)9783319126166
StatusUdgivet - 2016
NavnPerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology

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  • Homonymity
  • Analogy
  • Metaphor
  • Societal pragmatics


Kirkeby, O. F. (2016). Some Reflections on the Origin of Reason Through an Outline of the Genealogy of Language in the Light of Homonymity, Analogy, and Metaphor. I A. Capone, & J. L. Mey (red.), Interdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society (s. 677-700). Springer Science+Business Media. Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology , Bind. 4