Philosophers have often adopted a dismissive attitude toward metaphor. Hobbes (1651, ch. 8) advocated excluding metaphors from rational discourse because they “openly profess deceit,” while Locke (1690, Bk. 3, ch. 10) claimed that figurative uses of language serve only “to insinuate wrong ideas, move the passions, and thereby mislead the judgment; and so indeed are perfect cheats.” Later, logical positivists like Ayer and Carnap assumed that because metaphors like..
Objects of Metaphor puts forward a philosophical account of metaphor radically different from those currently on offer. Powerful and flexible enough to cope with the syntactic complexity typical of genuine metaphor, it offers novel conceptions of the relationship between simile and metaphor, the notion of dead metaphor, and the idea of metaphor as a robust theoretic kind. Without denying that metaphor can sometimes be merely ornamental, Guttenplan justifies the view of metaphor as (...) fundamental to language and the study of language. His book will be of great interest not only to philosophers in this field, but also to those working across psychology and linguistics. (shrink)
In order to understand both consciousness and the Freudian unconscious we need to understand the notion of innerness that we apply to the mind. We can partly do so via the use of the theory of conceptual metaphor, and this casts light on a number of related topics.
Philosophers have alleged that paraphrases of metaphors are inadequate. They have presented this inadequacy as a datum predicted by, and thus a reason to accept, particular accounts of ‘metaphorical meanings.’ But to what, specifically, does this inadequacy claim amount? I argue that, if this assumption is to have any bearing on the metaphor debate, it must be construed as the comparative claim that paraphrases of metaphors are inadequate compared to paraphrases of literal utterances. But the evidence philosophers have offered (...) does not support the comparative inadequacy of paraphrases of metaphors. I offer my own empirical evidence against the inadequacy assumption. (shrink)
Introduction : the existence of mental illness -- The likeness argument -- The categorical argument -- Metaphor -- Two metaphors from physical medicine -- The metaphor of mental illness -- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, social construction, and metaphor -- Metaphors and models.
In Metaphor and Film, Trevor Whittock demonstrates that feature films are permeated by metaphors that were consciously introduced by directors. An examination of cinematic metaphor forces us to reconsider the nature of metaphor itself, and the ways by which such visual imagery can be recognised and understood, as well as interpreted. Metaphor and Film identifies the principal forms of cinematic metaphor, and also provides an analysis of the mental operations that one must bring to it. (...) Recent developments in cognitive psychology, especially those relating to the nature and formation of categories, are called upon to explain these processes. Metaphor and Film ranges widely over film theory as it does over philosophical, literary, linguistic, and psychological accounts of metaphor. Particularly useful to those studying film, literature, and aesthetics, this study is also a provocative contribution to an important debate in which film theorists and philosophers are currently engaged. (shrink)
This paper investigates the issue whether metaphors have a metaphorical or secondary meaning and how this question is related to the borderline between philosophy and linguistics. On examples by V. Woolf and H. W. Auden, it will be shown that metaphor accomplishes something more than its literal meaning expresses and this “more” cannot be captured by any secondary meaning. What is essential in the metaphor is not a secondary meaning but an internal relation between a metaphorical proposition and (...) a description of its effects. In order to understand metaphors, we have to share an ability to construe metaphorical meanings at once. The aim of this ability is to uncover an internal relation, which lies behind a particular metaphor. (shrink)
Prop oriented make-believe is make-believe utilized for the purpose of understanding what I call “props,” actual objects or states of affairs that make propositions “fictional,” true in the make-believe world. I, David Hills, and others have claimed that prop oriented make-believe lies at the heart of the functioning of many metaphors, and one variety of fictionalism in metaphysics invokes prop oriented make-believe to explain away apparent references to entities some find questionable or problematic (fictional characters, propositions, moral properties, numbers). Elisabeth (...) Camp has argued against my and David Hills’ views of metaphor. Her arguments, many of them echoed by Catharine Wearing, demolish a very implausible account of metaphor, but leave entirely untouched the views that Hills and I actually proposed. Clarifying what we say about metaphor serves also as a defense of fictionalist theories that invoke prop oriented make-believe. (shrink)
This study presents an approach to metaphor that systematically takes contextual factors into account. It analyses how metaphors both depend on, and change, the context in which they are uttered, and specifically, how metaphorical interpretation involves the articulation of asserted, implied and presupposed material. It supplements this semantic analysis with a practice-based account of metaphor at the conceptual level, which stresses the role of sociocultural factors in concept formation.
I claim that the balance of nature metaphoris shorthand for a paradigmatic view of natureas a beneficent force. I trace the historicalorigins of this concept and demonstrate that itoperates today in the discipline of populationecology. Although it might be suspected thatthis metaphor is a pre-theoretic description ofthe more precisely defined notion ofequilibrium, I demonstrate that balance ofnature has constricted the meaning ofmathematical equilibrium in population ecology.As well as influencing the meaning ofequilibrium, the metaphor has also loaded themathematical term (...) with values.Environmentalists and critics use thisconflation of meaning and value to theiradvantage. This interplay between the balanceof nature and equilibrium fits aninteractionist interpretation of the role ofmetaphor in science. However, it seems theinteraction is asymmetric, and the balance ofnature metaphor has had a larger influence onmathematical equilibrium than vice versa. Thisdisproportionate influence suggests that themetaphor was and continues to be a constitutivepart of ecological theories. (shrink)
How is it that metaphors are meaningful, yet we have so much trouble saying exactly what they mean? I argue that metaphoric thought is an act of imagination, mediated by the contingent form of human embodiment. Metaphoric cognition is an example of the productive interplay between intentional imagery and the body scheme, a process of imaginal modeling. The case of metaphor marks the intersection of linguistic and psychological processes and demonstrates the need for a multi-disciplinary approach not only in (...) philosophy of language, but in cognitive science and consciousness studies as well. (shrink)
The concept of ‘living metaphor’ receives a number of articulations within metaphor theory. A review of four key theories – Nietzsche, Ricoeur, Lakoff and Johnson, and Derrida – reveals a distinction between theories which identify a prior, speculative nature working on or with metaphor, and theories wherein metaphor is shown to be performatively always, already active in thought. The two cannot be left as alternatives because they exhibit opposing theses with regard to the ontology of (...) class='Hi'>metaphor, but neither can an impartial philosophical appraisal of the most cogent or defensible theory be made, since the status and conduct of philosophy are part of the problem. Two responses to the predicament from within ‘living metaphor’ theory are considered: (1) Lakoff and Johnson’s ecological spirituality thesis which promises to make the contest redundant on the grounds that the origin of human concepts in our shared, embodied condition in the world removes all obstructions; (2) taking the lead from Nietzsche and Ricoeur, an approach based on the intersection of discourses, not as a resolution but as a gesture which allows the conflict to speak about ‘living metaphor’. (1) is shown to be unsuccessful, but (2) results in ‘living metaphor’ emerging as an attentiveness to questions of what does and does not belong, inspired by tensions between ‘is’ and ‘is not’, ‘from this perspective’ and ‘from that perspective’, and ‘is spoken about’ and ‘is spoken with’. (shrink)
I am going to attempt to argue, given certain premises, there are reasons, not only empirical, but also logical, for expecting a certain division of labor in the processing of information by the human brain. This division of labor consists specifically of a functional bifurcation into what may be called, to a first approximation, "verbal" and "nonverbal" modes of information- processing. That this dichotomy is not quite satisfactory, however, will be one of the principal conclusions of this chapter, for I (...) shall attempt to show that metaphor, which in its most common guise is a literary, and hence a fortiori a "verbal" phenomenon, may in fact be more a function of the "nonverbal" than the "verbal" mode. (For alternative attempts to account for cognitive lateralization, see e.g. Bever, 1975; Wickelgren, 1975; Pendse, 1978.). (shrink)
I examine the treatment of metaphor by medieval logicians and how it stemmed from their reception of classical texts in logic, grammar, and rhetoric. I consider the relation of the word 'metaphor' to the notions of translatio and transumptio, and show that it is not always synonymous with these. I also show that in the context of commentaries on the Sophistical Refutations metaphor was subsumed under equivocation. In turn, it was linked with the notion of analogy not (...) so much in the Greek sense of a similarity between two proportions or relations as in the new medieval sense of being said secundum prius et posterius. Whether or not analogy could be reduced to metaphor, or the reverse, depended on the controversial issue of the number of acts of imposition needed to produce an equivocal term. A spectrum of views is canvassed, including those found in the logic commentaries of John Duns Scotus. (shrink)
Language understanding is one of the most important characteristics for human beings. As a pervasive phenomenon in natural language, metaphor is not only an essential thinking approach, but also an ingredient in human conceptual system. Many of our ways of thinking and experiences are virtually represented metaphorically. With the development of the cognitive research on metaphor, it is urgent to formulate a computational model for metaphor understanding based on the cognitive mechanism, especially with the view to promoting (...) natural language understanding. Many works have been done in pragmatics and cognitive linguistics, especially the discussions on metaphor understanding process in pragmatics and metaphor mapping representation in cognitive linguistics. In this paper, a theoretical framework for metaphor understanding based on the embodied mechanism of concept inquiry is proposed. Based on this framework, ontology is introduced as the knowledge representation method in metaphor understanding, and metaphor mapping is formulated as ontology mapping. In line with the conceptual blending theory, a revised conceptual blending framework is presented by adding a lexical ontology and context as the fifth mental space, and a metaphor mapping algorithm is proposed. (shrink)
Purpose With the increasing sophistication of neuroimaging technologies in medicine, new language is being sought to make sense of the findings. The aim of this paper is to explore whether the brain-reading metaphor used to convey current medical or neurobiological findings imports unintended significations that do not necessarily reflect the genuine findings made by physicians and neuroscientists. Methods First, the paper surveys the ambiguities of the readability metaphor, drawing from the history of science and medicine, paying special attention (...) to the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. Next, the paper addresses more closely the issue of how metaphors may be confusing when used in medicine in general, and neuroscience in particular. The paper then explores the possible misleading effects associated with the contemporary use of the brain-reading metaphor in neuroimaging research. Results Rather than breaking new ground, what we see in current scientific language is a persistence of both a constraining and expansive set of language practices forming a relatively continuous tradition linking current neuroimaging to past scientific investigations into the brain. Conclusions The use of the readability metaphor thus carries with it both positive and negative effects. Physicians and neuroscientists must resort to the use of terms already laden with abstracted meanings, and often burdened by tradition, at the risk of importing through these words connotations that do not tally with the sought-after objectivity of empirical science. (shrink)
The essential significance of scientific metaphor lies in applying the general metaphorical theory to specific interpretations and elaborations of scientific theories to form a methodology of scientific explanation. It is a contextual grasp of objective reality. A given metaphorical context and its grasp of the essence of reality can only be valid when the context is continually restructured. Taking the context as a whole, the methodological characteristic of scientific metaphor lies in the unity of understanding and choice, experience (...) and concepts, semantic structures and metaphorical domains, rationality and irrationality. As a form of thinking based on reasons, scientific metaphor plays an important role in invention, representation, explanation, evaluation, and communication. (shrink)
Kant and Heidegger on the creation of objectivity -- The power of judgment : metaphor in the structure of Kant's third Critique -- Sensation, categorization, and embodiment : Locke, Merleau-Ponty, and Lakoff and Johnson -- Heidegger and the senses -- Conflicting perspectives : epistemology and ontology in Nietzsche's will to power -- Cutting nature at the joints : metaphor and epistemology in the science wars -- Opening and belonging : between subject and object in Heidegger and Bachelard -- (...)Metaphor and metaphysics in Heidegger, Ricoeur, and Derrida. (shrink)
Metaphor has a double life. It can be described as a directional process in which a stable, familiar base domain provides inferential structure to a less clearly specified target. But metaphor is also described as a process of finding commonalities, an inherently symmetric process. In this second view, both concepts may be altered by the metaphorical comparison. Whereas most theories of metaphor capture one of these aspects, we offer a model based on structure-mapping that captures both sides (...) of metaphor processing. This predicts (a) an initial processing stage of symmetric alignment; and (b) a later directional phase in which inferences are projected to the target. To test these claims, we collected comprehensibility judgments for forward (e.g., “A rumor is a virus”) and reversed (“A virus is a rumor”) metaphors at early and late stages of processing, using a deadline procedure. We found an advantage for the forward direction late in processing, but no directional preference early in processing. Implications for metaphor theory are discussed. (shrink)
The thesis of this paper is that causation, when described and treated as a metaphor, increases in explanatory power, while diminishing the problems associated with standard analysis of it. I first present a description of the uses of metaphor in scientific and literary language. This is drawn primarily from Max Black's interaction view of metaphor, as well as the view forwarded by Donald Davidson in his What Metaphors Mean. I then outline some of the standard analyses in (...) the field of causation, followed by some of the standard replies to those analyses. Finally, I show how describing causation in terms of a metaphor will bypass many of these objections, while maintaining or increasing its explanatory power. (shrink)
Nietzsche, Biology and Metaphor explores the German philosopher's response to the intellectual debates sparked by the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. By examining the abundance of biological metaphors in Nietzsche's writings, Gregory Moore questions his recent reputation as an eminently subversive and (post) modern thinker, and shows how deeply Nietzsche was immersed in late nineteenth-century debates on evolution, degeneration and race. The first part of the book provides a detailed study and new interpretation of Nietzsche's much disputed (...) relationship to Darwinism. Uniquely, Moore also considers the importance of Nietzsche's evolutionary perspective for the development of his moral and aesthetic philosophy. The second part analyzes key themes of Nietzsche's cultural criticism - his attack on the Judaeo-Christian tradition, his diagnosis of the nihilistic crisis afflicting modernity and his anti-Wagnerian polemics - against the background of fin-de-siècle fears about the imminent biological collapse of Western civilization. (shrink)
Abstract The current view of theoretical statements in science is that they should be literal and precise; ambiguous and metaphorical statements are useful only as pre-theoretical, exegetical, and heuristic devices and as pedagogical tools. In this paper we argue that this view is mistaken. Literal, precise statements apply to those experiential phenomena which can be defined either conventionally by criterial attribution or by internal atomic constitution. Experiential phenomena which are defined relationally and/or functionally, like nursing, in virtue of their nature, (...) require metaphorical description and explanation. In such cases, metaphor is theory-constitutive. Using insights from the philosophies of language and mind, and examples from nursing practice, education, and our own empirical research, we explore the nature of metaphor and its role in theory constitution. We argue that the apparent resistance of certain experiential phenomena to literal description and explanation is not necessarily indicative of pre-theoretic linguistic imprecision. We suggest, rather, that such resistance provides useful insights into the nature of such experiential phenomena. We also suggest that the aim of scientific theory should be methodological or epistemological precision and not merely linguistic precision. (shrink)
The main aim of this paper is to survey and evaluate Searle’s account of metaphor (1979) in the light of Davidson’s arguments against the idea of metaphorical meaning, which appeared at roughly the same time. Since this paper is intended for a festschrift celebrating Searle’s respectable anniversary, I will mostly refrain from critical remarks and rather focus on the positive aspects of his account. I am going to show that Searle’s theory of metaphor is for the most part (...) immune to Davidson’s arguments. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the frequently made claim that grasping a metaphor is a kind of ‘seeing-as’. I describe several ways in which it might be thought that metaphor-grasping is importantly similar to seeing-as, such that an extension of the latter category is though justified to include the former. For some of these similarities, I suggest they are illusory; for others, I argue that they are shared in virtue of the membership of both seeing-as and metaphor-grasping (...) in some much broader category, and so don’t obviously motivate thinking of metaphor-grasping as seeing-as. My aim is modest: not to deny that metaphor-grasping is a kind of seeing-as, but only to suggest that it should not be too quickly accepted. (shrink)
Within Charles Sanders Peirce''s semiotical theory, twodifferent kinds of creative metaphorical reasoning inscience can be identified. One of these, the buildingof remainder metaphors, is especially important forcreating new scientific models. We show that theconveyor belt metaphor provides an excellent examplefor Peirce''s theory. The conveyor belt metaphor hasrecently been invented in order to describe theoceanic transport system. The paradigm of the oceanicconveyor belt strongly influenced the geosciencecommunity and the climate change discussion. Afteridentifying structures of metaphorical reasoning inscience (section 2), (...) these structures are examined insection 3 for the conveyor belt metaphor in the fieldof oceanography. Finally, concluding remarks are givenin section 4. (shrink)
‘‘Adaptive radiation’’ is an evocative metaphor for explosive evolutionary divergence, which for over 100 years has given a powerful heuristic to countless scientists working on all types of organisms at all phylogenetic levels. However, success has come at the price of making ‘‘adaptive radiation’’ so vague that it can no longer reflect the detailed results yielded by powerful new phylogeny-based techniques that quantify continuous adaptive radiation variables such as speciation rate, phylogenetic tree shape, and morphological diversity. Attempts to shoehorn (...) the results of these techniques into categorical ‘‘adaptive radiation: yes/no’’ schemes lead to reification, in which arbitrary quantitative thresholds are regarded as real. Our account of the life cycle of metaphors in science suggests that it is time to exchange the spent metaphor for new concepts that better represent the full range of diversity, disparity, and speciation rate across all of life. (shrink)
Abduction and metaphor are two significant concepts in cognitive science. It is found that the both mental processes are on the basis of certain similarity. The similarity inspires us to seek the answers to the following two questions: (1) Whether there is a common cognitive mechanism behind abduction and metaphor? And (2) if there is, whether this common mechanism could be interpreted within the unified frame of modern intelligence theory? Centering on these two issues, the paper attempts to (...) characterize and interpret the generation and evolution of scientific metaphors from the perspective of the cognitive mechanism of abductive inference. Then it interprets the common cognitive mechanism behind abduction and metaphor within Hawkins’ frame of intelligence theory. The commonality between abduction and metaphor indicates the potential to further explore human intelligence. (shrink)
Despite the apparent aptness of the spatial model for Internet concepts, I will try to show that the paradigm is in fact very misleading and unnatural First, I argue that Cyberspace lacks the central features that constitute a space. Then I show that the metaphor creates a poor conceptual model that yields false or misleading conclusions about how Cyberspace functions.
Recent metaphor research has revealed that metaphor comprehension involves both categorization and comparison processes. This finding has triggered the following central question: Which property determines the choice between these two processes for metaphor comprehension? Three competing views have been proposed to answer this question: the conventionality view (Bowdle & Gentner, 2005), aptness view (Glucksberg & Haught, 2006b), and interpretive diversity view (Utsumi, 2007); these views, respectively, argue that vehicle conventionality, metaphor aptness, and interpretive diversity determine the (...) choice between the categorization and comparison processes. This article attempts to answer the question regarding which views are plausible by using cognitive modeling and computer simulation based on a semantic space model. In the simulation experiment, categorization and comparison processes are modeled in a semantic space constructed by latent semantic analysis. These two models receive word vectors for the constituent words of a metaphor and compute a vector for the metaphorical meaning. The resulting vectors can be evaluated according to the degree to which they mimic the human interpretation of the same metaphor; the maximum likelihood estimation determines which of the two models better explains the human interpretation. The result of the model selection is then predicted by three metaphor properties (i.e., vehicle conventionality, aptness, and interpretive diversity) to test the three views. The simulation experiment for Japanese metaphors demonstrates that both interpretive diversity and vehicle conventionality affect the choice between the two processes. On the other hand, it is found that metaphor aptness does not affect this choice. This result can be treated as computational evidence supporting the interpretive diversity and conventionality views. (shrink)
The problem of metaphor has come to a noteworthy revival in the analytical philosophy of today. Despite all progress that has been made, the majority of important studies consider the function of metaphor as an analogue to visual perception. Such comparison may be conceived as metaphor as well. In his late philosophy, Wittgenstein spent a lot of effort to explain the use of the expression "seeing as". I argue that his explanations can be transposed to the explanation (...) of the function of metaphor. Firstly, it is shown that all earlier attempts to do that are not satisfying. The occurrence of the expression "to see as" in everyday language led Wittgenstein to the elaboration of the notion of "aspect". Primarily these ideas should be employed in order to explain metaphors in everyday or even poetic language. My conclusion is that an internal relation can be perceived and thought of in the metaphor. (shrink)
In The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, published in 1868, Darwin used the metaphor of the architect to argue in favor of natural autonomy and to clarify the role of chance in his theory of adaptive change by variation and natural selection. In this article, I trace the history of this important heuristic instrument in Darwin's writings and letters and suggest that this metaphor was important to Darwin because it helps him to explain the role of (...) chance, and gives an argument in favor of the free will. (shrink)
There has been a longstanding interest in discovering or uncovering resemblances among what are ostensibly diverse religious schemas by employing a range of methodological approaches and tools. However, it is generally considered a problematic undertaking. Jonathan Z. Smith has produced a large body of work aimed at explicating this and has tacitly based his model of comparison on metaphor, which is traditionally understood to connote similarity between two or more things, as based on a linguistic or pragmatic assessment. However, (...) another possible approach is cognitive. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson have championed the view of “conceptual metaphor,” which regards metaphor as being pervasive not only in language, but also in thought and action. Indeed, according to them, it basically structures our conceptual operations and hence views of the world through partially mapping knowledge across ontological domains, generally from the concrete to the abstract. I shall argue that a similar mechanism can fruitfully be applied to comparing religious schemas, as based on the postulated relationship between the domains of human and divine, physical and abstract, and as realized through expressions of journeying and reflection. (shrink)
Work on the relation between figurative language and the law is a fairly recent trend, within legal discourse studies, linguistics, and semiotics. The work in conceptual metaphor theory, for example, is starting to unpack the underlying metaphorical and metonymic structure of legal language, producing some new and important insights into the nature of this language. Missing from this emerging line of inquiry are the views of the Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico, who was the first to understand the power of (...) figurative language in the creation of symbolic systems, like language and the law. His tripartite evolutionary model of language shows that there is not one language of the law, but three “languages.” By integrating Vico’s model with the work in conceptual metaphor theory it will be possible to penetrate the underlying conceptual structure of legal discourse and thus lead to a more insightful science of this discourse. (shrink)
Aesthetics and metaphysics I: the mimetic schema -- Aesthetics and metaphysics II: from Kant to Adorno -- Aesthetics at the limit of metaphysics: intimations of the hypersensible -- Metaphor beyond metaphysics? -- Literature: Proust, Hölderlin -- Sculpture: Chillida.
The language used to talk about computers is uniquely colorful and sometimes extraordinarily difficult. This paper examines ‘computer discourse’ and points out its highly metaphorical nature. While the use of metaphor is unavoidable, it often leads, especially in informal settings, to the mannered use of words we call jargon. Metaphor becomes jargon when it is used too literally in a self-conscious manner. Experts often use their metaphors as though they were literally true. Technical details fall away and the (...)metaphor is taken for the reality it represents. The less expert sometimes mimic the language they hear, in a self-conscious manner, without truly understanding it. (shrink)
The Computational Metaphor is an extremely influential notion, and more than any other trend has given rise to the field of Cognitive Science. Environmentalism is at present better formalised as a political movement than as a scientific paradigm, despite significant research by Gibson and his followers. This article attempts to address the difficult problem of synthesising these two apparently antagonistic research paradigms.
This paper examines from a cognitive perspective the rhetorical and epistemic advantages that can be gained from the use of (extended) metaphors in political discourse. We defend the assumption that extended metaphors can be argumentatively exploited, and provide two arguments in support of the claim. First, considering that each instantiation of the metaphorical mapping in the text may function as a confirmation of the overall relevance of the main core mapping, we argue that extended metaphors carry self-validating claims that increase (...) the chances of their content being accepted. Second, we show how the recognition of an extended metaphor’s sophistication and relevance (on behalf of the addressee) can benefit the speaker’s perceived competence (ethos). We then assess whether these two arguments measure against the dual epistemic monitoring postulated in the notion of epistemic vigilance (i.e., assessment of the source of a message and assessment of the message) and conclude that extended metaphors may fulfil the requirements of epistemic vigilance and lead to the stabilisation of a belief. We illustrate our account with an analysis of the extended metaphor of the USA as an empire found in a political pamphlet written by the Swiss politician Oskar Freysinger. (shrink)
In Jewish tradition, the book as an “exemplary”, the book as an “object” is associated with an attitude of veneration as expressed by Pierre Chaunu in “livre en majeste” – the book in its majesty when referring to the Holy Bible. The content of the book is revealed by its own referentiality enclosed in its text and by its unfolding through reading. On the other hand, the title of the book may suggest the plenitude of its text, a semantic sublimation, (...) an essentialization of the content of the book. This is rendered by means of the metaphor, for metaphor implies a “translation” of significance and senses within syntagmas and word associations that exceed the referential meaning. Therefore, several metaphorical categories may be discerned in the Hebrew book titles. A first category would concentrate symbolic, spectacular, luminiferous values in which light is the main attribute of the book, an attribute made up by superposing the light and the celestial, both defining the Divine: the BOOK as LIGHT. A second category of metaphoric phrasing would incorporate ethical – theological values. The metaphor BOOK as GATE codifies the idea of accessing, of entering in a livresque, bookish universe open to interpretation. The BOOK as PURITY and GRACE, the BOOK as BRIDE, the BOOK as CITADEL, the BOOK as THERAPY, the healing book would enter the same category. The metaphoric repertoire reaches its climax with the BOOK as HOLINESS, a syntagma that induces the semantics of writing as a sacred task. Other significant metaphors included in the Hebrew book titles are: the BOOK as ADORNEMENT, the BOOK as SPLENDOR, etc. (shrink)
The Extent of the Literal develops a strikingly new approach to metaphor and polysemy in their relation to the conceptual structure. In a straightforward narrative style, the author argues for a reconsideration of standard assumptions concerning the notion of literal meaning and its relation to conceptual structure. She draws on neurophysiological and psychological experimental data in support of a view in which polysemy belongs to the level of words but not to the level of concepts, and thus challenges some (...) seminal work on metaphor and polysemy within cognitive linguistics, lexical semantics and analytical philosophy. (shrink)
Davidson suggests that metaphor is a pragmatic (not a semantic) phenomenon; it prompts its audience to see one thing as another. Davidson rightly attacks speaker-intentionalism as the source of metaphorical meaning, but settles for an account that depends on audience intentions. A better approach would undermine intentionalism per se, replacing it with a social practice analysis based on patterns of extending the metaphor. This paper shows why Davidson’s perceptual model fails to stave off semantic analysis, and argues that (...) the professed virtues of Davidson's position are more readily found in an account that focuses on the nature of metaphorical interpretation. (shrink)
This article argues that organisms, defined by a semi-permeable membrane or skin separating organism from environment, are (must be) semiotically alert responders to environments (both Innenwelt and Umwelt). As organisms and environments complexify over time, so, necessarily, does semiotic responsiveness, or ‘semiotic freedom’. In complex environments, semiotic responsiveness necessitates increasing plasticity of discernment, or discrimination. Such judgements, in other words, involve interpretations. The latter, in effect, consist of translations of a range of sign relations which, like metaphor, are based (...) on transfers (carryings over) of meanings or expressions from one semiotic ‘site’ to another. The article argues that what humans describe as ‘metaphor’ (and believe is something which only pertains to human speech and mind and, in essence, is ‘not real’) is, in fact, fundamental to all semiotic and biosemiotic sign processes in all living things. The article first argues that metaphor and mind are immanent in all life, and are evolutionary, and, thus, that animals certainly do have minds. Following Heidegger and then Agamben, the article continues by asking about the place of animal mind in humans, and concludes that, as a kind of ‘night science’, ‘humananimal’ mind is central to the semiotics of Peircean abduction. (shrink)
The paper argues that an important class of aesthetic terms cannot be used as metaphors because it is impossible to commit a category mistake with them. It then uses this fact to provide a general definition of 'aesthetic property'.
I claim that explanations of human behaviour by Edward O. Wilsonand Charles Lumsden are constituted by a religiously functioningmetaphysics: emergent materialism. The constitutive effects areidentified using six criteria, beginning with a metaphorical re-description of dissimilarities between levels of organization interms of the lower level, and consist of conceptual andexplanatory reductions (CER). Wilson and Lumsden practice CER,even though CER is not required by emergent materialism. Theypreconceive this practice by a re-description which conflates thelevels of organization and explain failure of CER in (...) terms oftechnical, not ontological or epistemological reasons. Iinterpret these three practices as a reaction of Wilson againsthis early Christian religious beliefs. Statements by Wilsonindicate this reaction ultimately constitutes his explanations ofsocial, moral and religious behaviour.Tested knowledge about matter at the lower level functions as ametaphysical belief when applied to the higher level becausethere it is untested. I offer twelve criteria for the diagnosisof religious functions of this metaphysical materialism, five ofwhich are satisfied. I show that the constitutive effects of thismaterialism in sociobiology are due to its religious functions,are beneficial for science and do not destroy its public nature. (shrink)
Alison Denham examines the ways in which our engagement with literary art, and metaphorical discourse in particular, informs our moral beliefs. She considers to what extent moral and metaphorical discourses are capable of truth or falsehood, warrant or justification, and how it is that we understand these discourses. This vital new study offers a fresh view of the nature of the moral and the metaphorical, and the relations between art and morality.
Word problems in mathematics seem to constantly pose learning difficulties for all kinds of students. Recent work in math education (for example, [Lakoff, G. & Nuñez, R. E. (2000). Where mathematics comes from: How the embodied mind brings mathematics into being. New York: Basic Books]) suggests that the difficulties stem from an inability on the part of students to decipher the metaphorical properties of the language in which such problems are cast. A 2003 pilot study [Danesi, M. (2003a). Semiotica, 145, (...) 71–83] confirmed this hypothesis in an anecdotal way. This paper reviews the implications of that study and of a follow-up one that is described here as well, in the light of how the metaphorical analysis of word problems allows learners to overcome typical difficulties in word problem-solving by teaching them how to flesh out the underlying concepts and convert them into appropriate representations. (shrink)
This essay partly builds on and partly criticizes a striking idea of Dieter Henrich. Henrich argues that Kant's distinction in the first Critique between the question of fact (quid facti) and the question of law (quid juris) provides clues to the argumentative structure of a philosophical "Deduction". Henrich suggests that the unity of apperception plays a role analogous to a legal factum. By contrast, I argue, first, that the question of fact in the first Critique is settled by the Metaphysical (...) Deduction, which establishes the purity of origin of the Categories, and, second, that in the second Critique, the relevant factum is the Fact of Reason, which amounts to the fact that the Moral Law is pure in origin. (shrink)
Sally and Sid have worked together for a while, and Sally knows Sid to be a hard worker. She might make this point about him by saying, “Sid is a hard worker.” Or, she might make it by saying, “Sid is a Sherman tank.” We all recognize that there is some distinction between the first assertion, in which Sally is speaking literally, and the second, in which she is speaking figuratively. This is a distinction that any theory of figurative language (...) worth its salt should capture. But, as I will argue, it is a distinction that contemporary accounts of figurative language fail to successfully explain. This is because such theories have been mostly concerned to explore the nature of figurative understanding and the status of figurative meanings. Perhaps proponents of these theories suppose that, by appealing to a special kind of figurative meaning, we can eventually explain the difference between speaking literally and speaking figuratively. I believe this approach gets the order of explanation backwards. I contend that accounts of figurative meaning and understanding can only be fully articulated against a prior account of the distinction between figurative and literal language. What’s more, once my account of figurative language is in place, we can begin to see why people bother speaking figuratively at all, or so I will argue. (shrink)