Axiological dimension of meaning and argumentative discourse: an exploratory analysis


  • Jorge Osorio Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Concepción, Chile


The place of the axiological meaning, understood as positively or negatively loaded lexical units, has been paid insufficient heed in semantics and lexicology. Notwithstanding the evidence that the values of the expressions directly impinge on the conceptualization processes, the analysis generally confines axiology to the periphery of meaning (Felices Lago, 1992). However, human practice of valuation essentially manifests in determining an intentional meaning through the linguistic and discursive fact. From a cognitive perspective, Krzeszowski (1990) has proposed the existence of a “PLUS-MINUS” parameter that determines the axiological load. According to this proposal, the lexical units have the tendency to be loaded positively or negatively depending on the human factor. Both the particular fact of choosing an expression and the social dimension of valuation are matters that must be explained in the same interpretation framework. In this field cognitive linguistics proposes the existence of idealized cognitive models (ICM, put forward by Lakoff, 1987). We consider that the significant communicative uses of the linguistic expressions are captured by ICMs, which is closer to the ecological validity. In this article we discuss Krzeszowski’s thesis in relation with argumentative discourse and we claim that: a) the axiology of the lexical units is derived from underlying cognitive models; b) certain arguments respond to a kind of “axiological calculation” which we define as the final value (+/-) of the argumentator’s claims (or conclusions), which is determined in terms of the values attributed to data