Hobbes Studies 18 (1):96-112 (2005)

Thomas Hobbes's condemnation of metaphor as one of the chief "abuses of speech" in Leviathan occupies a famous place in the history of thinking about metaphor. From the viewpoint of cognitive metaphor theory, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson have depicted Hobbes and John Locke as the founding fathers of a tradition in which "metaphor and other figurative devices [became] objects of scorn". Similar verdicts on Hobbes and on Locke as arch-detractors of metaphor can be found in many other accounts of the history of semantics. However, these indictments stand in marked contrast to a considerable number of scholarly publications that have shown that Hobbes's assessment of rhetoric and metaphor is far from a 'straightforward' denunciation of anything non-'literal'. In this paper I shall use results of this research in an analysis of key-passages from Leviathan to re-assess Hobbes's views on metaphor. I shall demonstrate that some critics of Hobbes have overlooked crucial differentiations in his concept of metaphor as a key-issue of public communication. Furthermore, I shall argue that Hobbes's foregrounding of the 'dangers' of metaphor use in political theory and practice should be interpreted as an acknowledgement rather than as a denial of its conceptual and cognitive force
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/187502505X00061
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,110
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Metaphor and the Cultivation of Intimacy.Ted Cohen - 1978 - Critical Inquiry 5 (1):3-12.
Hobbes's Political Theory.Deborah Baumgold - 1988 - Cambridge University Press.
Metaphor.Christian Strub & David E. Cooper - 1994 - Noûs 28 (2):252.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Pictorial (Conversational) Implicatures.Tibor Bárány - 2019 - In Andras Benedek & Kristof Nyiri (eds.), Image and Metaphor in the New Century. Budapest, Magyarország: pp. 197-208.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Metaphor in Science.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1979 - In A. Ortony (ed.), Metaphor and Thought. Cambridge University Press. pp. 409-19.
Objects of Metaphor.Samuel Guttenplan - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
Objects in Space As Metaphor for the Internet.Robert Boyd Skipper - 2002 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 9 (1):83-88.
Rights of Man.Thomas Paine - 1961 - Harmondsworth, Penguin.
Rights of Man.Thomas Paine - 1995 - Oxford University Press.
Creative Metaphors, Synchronicity, and Quantum Physics.Thomas Frentz - 2011 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 44 (2):101-128.
Metaphor and Film.Trevor Whittock - 1990 - Cambridge University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
22 ( #492,392 of 2,448,072 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #227,143 of 2,448,072 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes