Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2017 | 6 | 75-84

Article title

Conceptualization of the Gene in Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene



Title variants

Languages of publication



This paper investigates the conceptualization of the gene in the book The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins from the point of view of the Conceptual Metaphor Theory and the Conceptual Blending Theory. It is argued that there are two senses of the gene: gene1 is a physically existing section of the DNA, gene2 is information about protein synthesis. It is the second sense of the concept of the gene that undergoes metaphorization. The analysis reveals that Dawkins’ gene is a conceptual blend which becomes extensively elaborated. Through elaboration the gene becomes personified on the one hand and deified on the other. The study shows the richness of Dawkins’ personification: the gene is conceptualized as building and controlling organisms, cooperating and competing with other genes, even showing personality traits. Deification of the gene is focused on highlighting its stipulated immortality and power to create organisms, humans included. The gene blend is at the same time used as an input space in the integration network producing the meme blend. It is also established that the personification of the gene plays the theory-constitutive role in the sense of Boyd (1993).


  • University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.