Inconsistencies in Temporal Metaphors: Is Time a Phenomenon of the Third Kind?

Abstract

This paper discusses the problem of inconsistencies in the metaphorical conceptualizations of time that involve motion within the framework of conceptual metaphor theory (CMT). It demonstrates that the TIME AS A PURSUER metaphor contrasts with the reverse variant TIME AS AN OBJECT OF PURSUIT, just as the MOVING TIME metaphor contrasts with the MOVING OBSERVER variant. Such metaphorical conceptualizations of time functioning as pairs of minimally differing variants based on Figure-Ground reversal are, strictly speaking, inconsistent with one another. Looking at these inconsistencies from a wider perspective suggests that time may belong to a separate category of conceptual phenomena. This paper puts forward a proposal to approach time from the perspective of “phenomena of the third kind”, which according to Keller’s thesis include conceptual establishments resulting from human cognition, but not of human design.

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