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


Maciej Litwin

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.
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Chapter 4. ‘Innovation’ and ‘creation’ within the Cognitive Model of the Present


Chapter 4. ‘Innovation’ and ‘creation’ within the Cognitive Model of the Present

4.1 Chapter overview

Chapter 4 moves the discussion about identity and time in terms proposed in Chapters 1, 2 and 3 to its conclusion. This conclusion consists in applying cognitive linguistics instrumentation to the study of conceptualisations of coming into being based on the British National Corpus.

Chapter 4 begins with a definition of the Cognitive Model of the Present (Evans 2004). The elements of this model were introduced in stages in chapters 1, 2 and 3. This section recapitulates the case for the study of conceptualisations of ‘innovation’ and ‘creation’ as an important step in a cognitive linguistics commentary on the problem of time and identity.

The ensuing discussion is a detailed analysis of the cognitive models of ‘innovation’ and ‘creation’ in English as they may be interpreted based on corpus data. The object of this analysis is to reconstruct and discuss conceptualisations of ‘innovation’ and ‘creation’ in English as conceptualisations of coming into being. A couple of results should emerge from this work, both theoretical and pragmatic. First, the analysis will echo the discussion of identity in time, evoking the options of substantive and process identity. Second, the analysis will be a comment on how novelty (coming into being of something that was not) can be conceptualised in everyday speech in English. This result should be viewed as desirable in the larger socio-economic context of present-day European statehood,...

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