Improvisation is the origin of art and science, tragedy and comedy, acting and doing, of the self as improvising and improvised. But clearly we cannot use improvisation to explain improvisation. We cannot be satisfied with an argument that improvisation is, well, improvisational--nor simply free-play. Rather, improvisation as αὐτο-σχεδιάζεῖν, means self-schematization.
What is the origin of language? For Levinas, from Aristotle to von Humboldt, the tradition of Western metaphysics has understood language as a representation of reality, going beyond or transcending experience. In this way, language is a metaphor that substitutes for experience—and all language is originally metaphorical. Experience however, is essentially inexpressible—for it not only transcends language, but it does so because experience is always experience of the other, of that which remains infinitely other. And language reminds us of its (...) failure (a failure which Derrida sees, ironically, as a success) to express this other by maintaining a trace of the inexpressible in every expression—and metaphor is failure of expression par excellence. But what is the origin of this original failure? In fact, it can be found in the way in which language makes metaphors (which is the way in which it makes itself, transcends itself, substitutes for itself, becomes other than itself). For as Aristotle reminds us: metaphor-making (indeed, all language, every word and deed) is poiēsis—and the origin of poiēsis is improvisation. If we have, however, discovered the origin of language in improvisation—but what is that? (shrink)
Usage and limits of analogy and metaphor in Aristotle’s science could be confusing. In some passages Aristotle uses both elements in explanations, and their clarity is defended. However, in other texts the metaphor is excluded from science. In this article, I will analyze the difference between metaphor and analogy and examine in what context metaphor can be used. My thesis is that Aristotle uses the analogy as an argumentative resource understood by epagoge. On the case of metaphors, they should be (...) excluded from science, but is a valid strategy for some kind of speeches, and as a pedagogical element of explanations. Key words: metaphor, analogy, argumentation, science, language. (shrink)