Time, Being and Becoming: Cognitive Models of Innovation and Creation in English

by Maciej Litwin (Author)
©2015 Monographs 138 Pages
Series: Interfaces, Volume 6


Cognitive linguistics provides tools to discuss identity as a process. Identity depends on the underlying conceptualisation of the present, while innovation and creation are borderline phenomena in epistemology. The two may be seen as generalised accounts of causation as a process: open-ended and closed, where time is conceptualised as real or figurative. Aristotle’s epistemology builds on the conceptualisation of a subject manipulating objects in the visual field. Saint Augustine and Plotinus conceive of time and identity as real and contingent or figurative and necessary. William of Ockham builds on a simple conceptualisation of a time-point matrix as opposed to a duration matrix. British National Corpus findings relate to and comment on these expert philosophical conversations through the medium of cognitive models of «innovation» and «creation», instruments of thought and reason in English.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface
  • Summary and Overview
  • i. Argument summary
  • ii. Argument overview
  • Part A. Theoretical Prerequisites
  • Chapter 1. Formal solutions of identity: the substantive identity
  • 1.1 Chapter overview
  • 1.2 Linguistics in the age of science
  • 1.3 Formal identity: objects of mathematics
  • 1.4 Network identity: objects of human conceptualisation
  • 1.5 Identity as a human-scale concept
  • 1.6 Chapter summary
  • Chapter 2. Non-formal solutions of identity: identity as process
  • 2.1 Chapter overview
  • 2.2 The nominalist tradition: contingent existence
  • 2.3 Ontological contingency as a feature of counterfactual thought
  • 2.4 Plato’s idea: entity or process?
  • 2.5 Identity as item in inventory and blended concept
  • 2.6 Chapter summary
  • Chapter 3. Identity and the present. Towards a cognitive model of the present
  • 3.1 Chapter overview
  • 3.2 Aristotle: reason, induction and deduction
  • 3.3 Plotinus and Saint Augustine: knowledge and morality
  • 3.4 Vox and eidos: time-point matrix and duration-matrix
  • 3.5 Chapter summary
  • Part B. Descriptive Applications
  • Chapter 4. ‘Innovation’ and ‘creation’ within the Cognitive Model of the Present
  • 4.1 Chapter overview
  • 4.2 The Cognitive Model of the Present by Vyvyan Evans
  • 4.3 Introducing the corpus study of ‘innovation’ and ‘creation’
  • 4.4 Survey of British National Corpus 2007
  • 4.4.1 Processes and things
  • 4.4.2 Verb forms
  • 4.4.3 Nominal forms
  • Statement (1)
  • 4.4.4 Nominals and verbs: distributive proportion
  • Statement (2)
  • Statement (3)
  • 4.5 Dictionary entries of ‘create’ and ‘innovate’ word families
  • Statement (4)
  • Statement (5)
  • 4.6 Two working hypotheses
  • 4.7 Analysis of ‘innovation’ and ‘creation’ as concepts
  • 4.7.1 Causality and temporality: BNC samples
  • 4.7.2 Speculating about the limit options in theconceptualisation process
  • 4.8 Verifying the configurationality hypothesis
  • 4.8.1 Configurationality and counterfactuality
  • 4.8.2 Conceptual blending account of ‘innovation’ and ‘creation’ concepts
  • 4.9 Chapter Summary
  • Chapter 5. ‘Innovation’ and ‘creation’ as principles in institutional management and aesthetics
  • 5.1 Chapter overview
  • 5.2 Towards a synthesis: summary of corpus findings
  • 5.3 Example 1. Conceptualisation as an aspect of institutional management in the policy-making process
  • 5.4 Example 2. Conceptualisation as an aesthetic aspect of literary texts
  • 5.5 Example 3. Conceptualisation as an aesthetic aspect of literary texts (continued)
  • 5.6 Example 4. Conceptualisations as an aesthetic aspect of sacred art
  • 5.7 Chapter summary
  • Chapter 6. Cognitive models of ‘innovation’ and ‘creation,’ human thought and perceptual modality
  • 6.1 Chapter overview
  • 6.2 Determinist results: open-ended and closed reason
  • 6.3 Perceptual modality
  • 6.4 Chapter summary
  • General Conclusion
  • Part C. References
  • References
  • Primary Sources
  • Pre-modern
  • Modern
  • The Bible
  • Secondary Sources
  • List of Figures


This book is an amended form of my doctoral dissertation submitted at University of Wrocław in 2014. The argument it contains had taken many years to develop and there are many people to whom I owe special gratitude for their support, inspiration and companionship along this way. For the sake of brevity I will mention only some of them.

I want to thank Professor Marcin Cieński, Dean of Faculty of Letters at University of Wrocław, for his decision to generously fund this publishing project.

I want to thank Professor Marek Kuźniak of University of Wrocław for his unfailing support, probing questions and continuing challenge on my path of linguistic enquiry. I am greatly indebted for his acceptance of my individual enterprise, especially its idiosyncratic (if not tortuous) trajectory over these years.

I thank professor Tadeusz Luty and Mayor Rafał Dutkiewicz, professor Jerzy Langer, Mayor Adam Grehl, Senator Jarosław Obremski, Tomasz Janoś, Tomasz Gondek, Zbigniew Rybczyński, Wiesław Błysz, Piotr Szymański, Kamila Kamińska, Bartłomiej Skowron, Jakub Jernajczyk, Jarosław Drapała—for indulging me through hours of practical and not-so-practical discussions challenging, questioning and tempering my understanding of what makes the practical mind. I am grateful to Professor Roman Galar for his work in unveiling the mystifications of this very mind. I thank Jaana Puukka, Professor John Goddard, Ellen Hazelkorn, Patrick Dubarle and Małgorzata Kuczera for prompting the right names for the hidden life of institutions. I am indebted to Andrzej Lubiatowski for drawing an important line between politics and urban life, modern government and Polish history. I thank the Triple Helix Community for setting the standards of research higher than my upstart mind would care to.

I thank Professor Elżbieta Mańczak-Wohlfeld and Professor Roman Lewicki for their openness towards my work and for their encouragement to publish. I express my gratitude to Patrycja Poniatowska, Marcin Tereszewski and Romulo Pinheiro for egging me on to take up academic work.

I bow before my parents, Alicja and Andrzej, who opened before me the way of experiment and learning. I give my heart to my wife Małgorzata and our children Jadwisia and Staś who were with me when this work seemed a forlorn idea.

D.O.M.Maciej Litwin
← 9 | 10 →


← 10 | 11 →


The difference [between the Metaphysical and the 19th century poets] is not a simple difference of degree between poets. It is something which had happened to the mind of England between the time of Donne or Lord Herbert of Cherbury and the time of Tennyson and Browning; it is the difference between the intellectual poet and the reflective poet. Tennyson and Browning are poets, and they think; but they do not feel their thought as immediately as the odour of a rose. A thought to Donne was an experience; it modified his sensibility. (Elliot 1921)

For if there are times past and future, I wish to know where they are. But if I have not yet succeeded in this, I still know that wherever they are that they are not there as future or past, but as present. For if they are there as future, they are there as ‘not yet’; if they are there as past, they are there ‘no longer.’ Wherever they are and whatever they are they exist only as present. (Saint Augustine Confessions).

This work is about human thought and reason in time.

But its origins are practical. They go back to my twelve-year experience of work for the city government of Wrocław, Poland: first as an assistant and interpreter, then as a staff member and, finally, as an executive in charge of the design, implementation and evaluation of a range of municipal innovation policy interventions. It was in this environment, at the height of Polish political and economic transformation of 2004–2010, that I seem to have grasped two formidable discoveries I had first run over in my graduate years.

The first discovery was made by T. S. Elliot and it served as the pivot of his celebrated 1921 essay on English poetry. In ‘The Metaphysical Poets’ (1921) T. S. Elliot discusses 17th and 19th century English verse. He concludes that the secret of John Donne and other Metaphysical poets builds on the fact that an idea may be experienced to different degrees, just as scent may be perceived with varying intensity. ‘A thought to Donne was an experience; it modified his sensibility,’ Elliot said in 1921. This observation has gained new prominence over the last thirty years of advance in brain science.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2015 (June)
ontology object identity conceptualisation of time epistemology
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 138 pp., 15 graphs

Biographical notes

Maciej Litwin (Author)

Maciej Litwin is an assistant professor of English (linguistics/translation studies) at the University of Wrocław. He previously worked as an executive for the City of Wrocław, Poland, where he developed key ingredients of the municipal innovation portfolio (2006–2014).


Title: Time, Being and Becoming: Cognitive Models of Innovation and Creation in English