The wheel of time: How abstract concepts emerge

(a study based on early Sanskrit texts)

  • Joanna Jurewicz South Asian Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland

Abstract

The aim of the paper is to show how conceptual metonymy, metaphor and blending, as discussed in cognitive linguistics, can be used in the investigation on the beginning of abstraction in philosophical thinking. The analysis is based on selected stanzas from the Ṛgveda (ca. 13th BC), the Atharvaveda (ca. 10-9th BC) and the Mahābhārata (ca. 4th BC - 4th AD) composed in Sanskrit. I discuss how the notion of riding in a chariot, used in the earliest texts for expressing ontological, epistemological and ritual issues, is transformed into an abstract concept of the wheel to express the concept of time. The use of cognitive models allows showing the conscious and rational nature of this transformation performed by the early Indian thinkers, and thus qualifies as a form of philosophy.

Author Biography

Joanna Jurewicz, South Asian Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland

Joanna Jurewicz is a professor at the Chair of South Asian Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw and Research Fellow in the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages in the College of Human Sciences, UNISA, Pretoria, RPA. Her basic focus is the philosophical thought expressed in the corpus of Sanskrit religious texts called Śruti and Smṛti (ca. 14th century BC up to the beginnings our era). Her research combines the methods of philology and of cognitive linguistics. She is the first Indologist to have used this interdisciplinary approach, and her results have shown that many basic Indian philosophical ideas and presuppositions can be traced back to the most ancient texts.

Published
2019-09-09
Section
Articles