Vico, Metaphor, and the Origin of Language

Vico, Metaphor, and the Origin of Language

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The origin of language is one of the deep mysteries of human existence. Drawing upon the work of the eighteenth-century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico, Marcel Danesi fashions a persuasive, original account of the evolution and development of language. Seeking to reconstruct the primitive mind that generated language and the evolutionary events that must have preceded the advent of speech, he takes Vico's insight that mind, culture, and language evolved from the uniquely human faculty known as fantasia ('the imagination') and sketches a 'primal scene' of compelling interest. Danesi identifies metaphor, the feature of mind that transforms iconic, perceptual thinking into conceptual thinking, as the crucial event in the Vichian scenario. The description of this scenario forms the core of the book. Danesi then evaluates the Vichian reconstruction of the origin of language in light of contemporary research in the cognitive, social, and biological sciences and with competing theories.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 212 pages
  • 165 x 240 x 12.7mm | 5,000g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253316073
  • 9780253316073

Table of contents

PREFACE I. Glottogenetic Theories and Research: A Brief Sketch Traditional Glottogenetic Theories Scientific Approaches The Shape of Contemporary Glottogenetic Theories The Current State of Knowledge II. The Primitive Mind: A Vichian Reconstruction Vico and Anglo-American Science Previous Work on Vico: A Schematic Survey The New Science Basic Vichian Notions The Primitive Mind III. Language and the Imagination: The Vichian Glottogenetic Scenario The Vichian Approach Reconstructing the Primal Scene After the Primal Scence IV. The Dawn of Language: The Iconicity and Visual Mimesis Hypotheses The Nature of Iconicity The Research on Imagery, Iconicity, and Gesture Iconic Representation V. From Language to Speech: The Audio-Oral Osmosis Hypothesis Audio-Oral Osmosis The Ontogenesis of Speech Language and Speech VI. From Percepts to Concepts: The Metaphoricity Hypothesis The Nature of Metaphor Metaphor and Concept-Formation Mentation, Narrativity, and Myth VII. The Sociobiological-Computationist Viewpoint: A Vichian Critique The Vichian Scenario Revisited Revisting the Genetic Perspective computationism REFERENCES INDEX
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