International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online)

A Diachronic Investigation of the Great Chain of Being Metaphor in Religious and Political Discourses of Early Modern and Enlightenment Philosophy
Csenge E. Aradi

The great chain of being has shaped and reflected Judeo-Christian world order since the beginnings of institutionalized religion and politics. The purpose of this paper is to uncover the diachronic variations in the great chainthat occurred, possibly existing parallel toone and another, in early modern and Enlightenment monarchist (conservative) discourses. The selected corpus (Pascal, Burke, Montesquieu) was analyzed within the methodological framework of Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT). By virtue of its disciplinary complexity, CMT can not only provide a detailed structural analysis of the great chain metaphor, but it can also contribute to a more profound and broader understanding of conservative tendencies in general. The results of the analysis suggest that in the period covered the great chain metaphor shows conceptual changes which enable the diversification of conservative discourse related to social and political order.

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