The Metaphorical Process as Cognition, Imagination, and Feeling

Critical Inquiry 5 (1):143-159 (1978)
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Abstract

But is not the word "metaphor" itself a metaphor, the metaphor of a displacement and therefore of a transfer in a kind of space? What is at stake is precisely the necessity of these spatial metaphors about metaphor included in our talk about "figures" of speech. . . . But in order to understand correctly the work of resemblance in metaphor and to introduce the pictorial or ironic moment at the right place, it is necessary briefly to recall the mutation undergone by the theory of metaphor at the level of semantics by contrast with the tradition of classical rhetoric. In this tradition, metaphor was correctly described in terms of deviance, but this deviance was mistakenly ascribed to denomination only. Instead of giving a thing its usual common name, one designates it by means of a borrowed name, a "foreign" name in Aristotle's terminology. The rationale of this transfer of name was understood as the objective similarity between the things themselves or the subjective similarity between the attitudes linked to the grasping of these things. As concerns the goal of this transfer, it was supposed either to fill up a lexical lacuna, and therefore to serve the principle of economy which rules the endeavor of giving appropriate names to new things, new ideas, or new experiences, or to decorate discourse, and therefore to serve the main purpose of rhetorical discourse, which is to persuade and to please. Paul Ricoeur is professor of philosophy at the Université de Paris and John Nuveen Professor at the University of Chicago. He is editor of Revue de métaphysique et de morale and the author of many influential works on phenomenology, hermeneutics, and the philosophy of language. His most recent work to appear in English is The Rule of Metaphor: Multi-disciplinary Studies of the Creation of Meaning in Language. He has also contributed "Narrative Time" to Critical Inquiry

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