David Bohm's interpretation of quantum mechanics yields a quantum potential, Q. In his early work, the effects of Q are understood in causal terms as acting through a real (quantum) field which pushes particles around. In his later work (with Basil Hiley), the causal understanding of Q appears to have been abandoned. The purpose of this paper is to understand how the use of certain metaphors leads Bohm away from a causal treatment of Q, and to evaluate the use of (...) those metaphors. (shrink)
The now-classic Metaphors We Live By changed our understanding of metaphor and its role in language and the mind. Metaphor, the authors explain, is a fundamental mechanism of mind, one that allows us to use what we know about our physical and social experience to provide understanding of countless other subjects. Because such metaphors structure our most basic understandings of our experience, they are "metaphors we live by"--metaphors that can shape our perceptions and actions without our ever noticing (...) them. In this updated edition of Lakoff and Johnson's influential book, the authors supply an afterword surveying how their theory of metaphor has developed within the cognitive sciences to become central to the contemporary understanding of how we think and how we express our thoughts in language. (shrink)
The concept of metaphor as primarily a vehicle for conveying ideas, even if unusual ones, seems to me as wrong as the parent idea that a metaphor has a special meaning. I agree with the view that metaphors cannot be paraphrased, but I think this is not because metaphors say something too novel for literal expression but because there is nothing there to paraphrase. Paraphrase, whether possible or not, inappropriate to what is said: we try, in paraphrase, to (...) say it another way. But if I am right, a metaphor doesn't say anything beyond its literal meaning. This is not, of course, to deny that a metaphor has a point, nor that that point can be brought out by using further words.... My disagreement is with the explanation of how metaphor works its wonders. To anticipate: I depend on the distinction between what words mean and what they are used to do. I think metaphor belongs exclusively to the domain of use. It is something brought off by the imaginative employment of words and sentences and depends entirely on the ordinary meanings of those words and hence on the ordinary meanings of the sentences they comprise. Donald Davidson is University Professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many important essays, including "Actions, Reasons and Causes," "Causal Relations," and "Truth and Meaning," coauthor of Decision-Making: An Experimental Approach, and coeditor of Words and Objections, Semantics of Natural Language, and The Logic of Grammar. (shrink)
The concept of metaphor as primarily a vehicle for conveying ideas, even if unusual ones, seems to me as wrong as the parent idea that a metaphor has a special meaning. I agree with the view that metaphors cannot be paraphrased, but I think this is not because metaphors say something too novel for literal expression but because there is nothing there to paraphrase. Paraphrase, whether possible or not, inappropriate to what is said: we try, in paraphrase, to (...) say it another way. But if I am right, a metaphor doesn't say anything beyond its literal meaning . This is not, of course, to deny that a metaphor has a point, nor that that point can be brought out by using further words. . . . My disagreement is with the explanation of how metaphor works its wonders. To anticipate: I depend on the distinction between what words mean and what they are used to do. I think metaphor belongs exclusively to the domain of use. It is something brought off by the imaginative employment of words and sentences and depends entirely on the ordinary meanings of those words and hence on the ordinary meanings of the sentences they comprise. Donald Davidson is University Professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many important essays, including "Actions, Reasons and Causes," "Causal Relations," and "Truth and Meaning," coauthor of Decision-Making: An Experimental Approach, and coeditor of Words and Objections, Semantics of Natural Language, and The Logic of Grammar. (shrink)
Metaphorical meaning can be analyzed as triggered by an apparent communicative breach, an incongruity that leads to a default of the presumptive interpretation of a vehicle. This breach can be solved through contextual renegotiations of meaning guided by the communicative intention, or rather the presumed purpose of the metaphorical utterance. This paper addresses the problem of analyzing the complex process of reasoning underlying the reconstruction of metaphorical meaning. This process will be described as a type of abductive argument, aimed at (...) explaining how the vehicle can best contribute to the purpose of the utterance. This type of reasoning involves the analysis of the possible predicates that can be and usually are attributed to the vehicle, and the selection of the one that can support the implicit conclusion constituting the communicative goal of the metaphorical utterance. Metaphorical meaning, in this perspective, becomes the outcome of a complex process of meaning reconstruction aimed at providing the best explanation of the function of the vehicle within a discourse move. (shrink)
Metaphors can be used as crucial tools for reaching shared understanding, especially where an epistemic imbalance of knowledge is at stake. However, metaphors can also represent a risk in intercultural or cross-cultural interactions, namely in situations characterised by little or deficient common ground between interlocutors. In such cases, the use of metaphors can lead to misunderstandings and cause communicative breakdowns. The conditions defining when metaphors promote, and hinder understanding have not been analyzed in detail, especially in intracultural contexts. This study (...) proposes an analysis of metaphors identified within an Italian corpus of diabetes care interviews. Through a coding scheme capturing the types and the probative weights of the linguistic evidence that can be used to detect misunderstandings, the communicative effectiveness of metaphors is indirectly assessed. The quantitative and qualitative analyses show a positive correlation between metaphor use and problematic understanding. A more detailed scrutiny of the interlocutors’ roles and topics of the metaphors points out that most of the problematic metaphors are used by patients, while most of the problematic ones used by providers concern non-clinical matters. These results can be explained as resulting from incorrect presumptions of common ground between the interlocutors. (shrink)
This paper examines the soul-turning metaphor in Book 7 of Plato’s Republic. It argues that the failure to find a consistent reading of how the metaphor is used has contributed to a number of long-standing disagreements, especially concerning the more famous metaphor with which it is intertwined, the Cave allegory. A full reading of the metaphor, as it occurs throughout Book 7, is offered, with particularly close attention to what is one of the most difficult and (...) stubbornly divisive passages in Book 7, 532b6–d1. (shrink)
Whereas intersectionality presents a fruitful framework for theoretical and empirical research, some of its fundamental features present great confusion. The term ‘intersectionality’ and its metaphor of the crossroads seem to reproduce what it aims to avoid: conceiving categories as separate. Despite the attempts for developing new metaphors that illustrate the mutual constitution relation among categories, gender, race or class keep being imagined as discrete units that intersect, mix or combine. Here we identify two main problems in metaphors: the lack (...) of differentiation between positions and effects and the problem of reification. We then present a new metaphor that overcomes these two problems: a basket of apples. We argue that considering social positions as the diverse properties of different apples avoids reification by considering categories as properties and not as objects themselves, and at the same time it allows us to think about the effects dimension from a plural and contextual approach. With this shift, we propose a reframing of the discussion in debates on intersectionality theory on the relation among categories, their in/separability and fragmentation. (shrink)
Conceptual metaphors have received much attention in research on discourse about infectious diseases in recent years. Most studies found that conceptual metaphors of war dominate media discourse about disease. Similarly, a great deal of research has been undertaken on the new coronavirus, i.e., COVID-19, especially in the English news discourse as opposed to other languages. The present study, in contrast, analyses the conceptual metaphors used in COVID-19 discourse in French-language newspapers. The study explored the linguistic metaphors used in COVID-19 discourse (...) in these newspapers and conceptual metaphors that underlie and motivate them, using a conceptual metaphor theory framework (CMT). Therefore, two North African French-language newspapers, namely Libération, published in Morocco, and La Presse de Tunisie, published in Tunisia, formed the corpus of the current study. The results showed that the most frequent framing of COVID-19 was in terms of WAR, followed by DISASTER and KILLER, respectively. (shrink)
The commonplace view about metaphorical interpretation is that it can be characterized in traditional semantic and pragmatic terms, thereby assimilating metaphor to other familiar uses of language. We will reject this view, and propose in its place the view that, though metaphors can issue in distinctive cognitive and discourse effects, they do so without issuing in metaphorical meaning and truth, and so, without metaphorical communication. Our inspiration derives from Donald Davidson’s critical arguments against metaphorical meaning and Richard Rorty’s exploration (...) of the diverse uses of language. But unlike these authors we ground our discussion squarely in distinctions about causal mechanisms in cooperative activity developed by H.P. Grice and others. (shrink)
The general consensus emerging from decades of empirical investigation of metaphor processing is that, when appropriately contextualised, metaphorically used language is no more demanding of processing effort than literally used language. However, there is a small number of studies which contradict this position, notably Noveck, Bianco, and Castry (2001): they maintain that relevance-based pragmatic theory predicts increased cognitive costs incurred in deriving the extra effects that metaphors typically yield, and they provide experimental results that support this prediction. In our (...) study, we first surveyed and assessed the tasks and stimulus materials of many experiments on metaphor processing from the 1970's to the present day. The most telling result was an apparent disparity between the processing of metaphorical language used predicatively versus referentially. We then ran two self-paced reading experiments to test our hypothesis that when used as a predicate, metaphorical language is no more costly than literal language, but when used referentially, it does incur extra costs, even given a preceding biasing context. In the first experiment, all metaphorical referring expressions were in subject position so occurred early in the sentence; in the second experiment, we controlled for any effect of sentence position by placing metaphorical referring expressions in object position, thus later in the sentence, similar to the predicate metaphors. In both cases, metaphorical referring incurred significantly greater costs relative to literal equivalents than did metaphorical predication, with no effect of sentence position. We end with a brief analysis of why the referential use of metaphor is special and effort-demanding. (shrink)
Davidson suggests that metaphor is a pragmatic (not a semantic) phenomenon; on his view, metaphor is a perlocutionary effect 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)
L’autobiographie intellectuelle du Discours de la méthode fait reposer la vocation philosophique de Descartes sur un événement, souvent associé à la découverte des « fondements de la science admirable », le 10 novembre 1619. L’article rapporte ici cet événement à l’injonction à « l’étude de soi » prescrite par les premières pages de la Sagesse de Charron. Il montre ensuite les similitudes entre la structure narrative du récit cartésien (le voyage, la halte, le choix du chemin, la mathesis comme « (...) chemin sûr ») et les auto-fictions narratives publiées par le mathématicien Caspar Grünewald entre 1617 et 1619. Enfin, il montre que le « désir d’apprendre à distinguer le vrai d’avec le faux » réécrit, sans lyrisme ni fioritures, le récit séminal du placard de la licence en droit (1616), où le récit de la vocation entrecroisait poétiquement les références mythologiques et théologiques. (shrink)
Metaphor pervades discourse and may govern how we think and act. But most studies only discuss its verbal varieties. This book examines metaphors drawing on combinations of visuals, language, gestures, sound, and music. Investigated texts include advertising, political cartoons, comics, film, songs, and oral communication. Where appropriate, the influence of genre and cultural factors is thematized.
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..
Arguing that psychologists and their predecessors have invariably relied on metaphors in articulation, the contributors to this volume offer a new "key" to understanding a critically important area of human knowledge by specifying the major metaphors.
Metaphors abound in both the arts and in science. Due to the traditional division between these enterprises as one concerned with aesthetic values and the other with epistemic values there has unfortunately been very little work on the relation between metaphors in the arts and sciences. In this paper, we aim to remedy this omission by defending a continuity thesis regarding the function of metaphor across both domains, that is, metaphors fulfill any of the same functions in science as (...) they do in the arts. Importantly, this involves the claim that metaphors in arts as well as science have both epistemic and aesthetic functions. (shrink)
This book explores and offers solutions to a range of conceptual and philosophical problems that underlie attempts to understand metaphor processing in the context of cognitive science. The author vigorously criticizes the prevailing philosophical prejudice against traditional «comparison» theories of metaphor, arguing that the problems with the comparison theory are exciting problems that demand solutions, rather than grounds for rejecting the theory itself. Furthermore, it is through these problems that the study of metaphor processing is linked to (...) wider issues in cognitive science, including disputes about computational architectures and neural mechanisms. (shrink)
Metaphors are powerful communicative tools because they produce ”framing effects’. These effects are especially palpable when the metaphor is an insult that denigrates the hearer or someone he cares about. In such cases, just comprehending the metaphor produces a kind of ”complicity’ that cannot easily be undone by denying the speaker’s claim. Several theorists have taken this to show that metaphors are engaged in a different line of work from ordinary communication. Against this, I argue that metaphorical insults (...) are rhetorically powerful because they combine perspectives, presupposition, and pragmatics in the service of speech acts with assertoric force. (shrink)
This book opens up a new route to the study of knowledge dynamics and the sociology of knowledge. The focus is on the role of metaphors as powerful catalysts and the book dissects their role in the construction of theories of knowledge and will therefore be of vital interest to social and cognitive scientists alike.
This chapter challenges the common claim that vicious forms of argumentative practice, like interpersonal arrogance and discursive polarisation, are caused by martial metaphors, such as ARGUMENT AS WAR. I argue that the problem isn’t the metaphor, but our wider practices of metaphorising and the ways they are deformed by invidious cultural biases and prejudices. Drawing on feminist argumentation theory, I argue that misogynistic cultures distort practices of metaphorising in two ways. First, they spotlight some associations between the martial and (...) argumentative domains while occluding others, resulting in a sort of myopia. Second, those cultures interfere with a phenomenon I label normative isomorphism – the capacity of some structural metaphors to enable (and often encourage) a transfer of normative chracater traits from the source domain to the target domain. Crucially, the normative status of character trait often changes across domains—traits that are virtuous in the martial domain are often vicious in the argumentative domain, and vice versa. Sexist myopia tends to deform practices of metaphorising by interfering with normative isomorphism by privileging the transfer across domains of traits that recapitulate invidious cultural constructions of masculinity in terms of aggression, domination, and violence. Basically, the problem isn’t the metaphors, but the cultures. (shrink)
War metaphors are ubiquitous in discussions of everything from political campaigns to battles with cancer to wars against crime, drugs, poverty, and even salad. Why are warfare metaphors so common, and what are the potential benefits and costs to using them to frame important social and political issues? We address these questions in a detailed case study by reviewing the empirical literature on the subject and by advancing our own theoretical account of the structure and function of war metaphors in (...) public discourse. We argue that war metaphors are omnipresent because they draw on basic and widely shared schematic knowledge that efficiently structures our ability to reason and communicate about many different types of situations, and they reliably express an urgent, negatively valenced emotional tone that captures attention and motivates action. Nevertheless, we find that the meaning of war metaphors is intimately tied to the context in which they are used, which may result in either positive or negative outcomes, depending on the situation. Thus, blanket statements about whether or not a war frame is useful are misguided or overly constraining. Here we situate our case study results in relation to popular theories of metaphoric representation and processing and offer some guidelines for using a war framing effectively. This work helps illuminate the complex, dynamic, and nuanced functions of metaphor in cognition in general, and in public discourse in particular. (shrink)
This book provides a philosophical theory explicating the cognitive contribution of metaphor. Metaphor effects a transference of meaning, not between two terms, but between two structured domains of content, or ‘semantic fields’. Semantic fields, construed as necessary to a theory of word-meaning, provide the contrastive and affinitive relations that govern a term’s literal use. In a metaphoric use, these relations are projected into a second domain which is thereby reordered with significant cognitive effects. The book provides a revision (...) and refinement of ‘the semantic theory of metaphor’. Taking into account pragmatic considerations and recent linguistic and psychological studies, the book aims to forge a new understanding of the relation between metaphoric and literal meaning. It illustrates the thesis with sensitive and systematic analyses of metaphors found in literature, philosophy, science, and everyday language. Keywords:,, . (shrink)
Combining up-to-date scholarship with clear and accessible language and helpful exercises, Metaphor: A Practical Introduction is an invaluable resource for all readers interested in metaphor. This second edition includes two new chapters--on 'metaphors in discourse' and 'metaphor and emotion' --along with new exercises, responses to criticism and recent developments in the field, and revised student exercises, tables, and figures.
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)
Metaphors for describing the introduction, impacts, and management of non-native species are numerous and often quite outspoken. Policy-makers have adopted increasingly disputed metaphorical terms from scientific discourse. We performed a critical analysis of the use of strong metaphors in reporting scientific findings to policy-makers. Our analysis shows that perceptions of harm, invasiveness or nativeness are dynamic and inevitably display multiple narratives in science, policy or management. Improving our awareness of multiple expert and stakeholder narratives that exist in the context of (...) non-native species management, as well as metaphorical alternatives, is critical. (shrink)
The study of metaphor is now firmly established as a central topic within cognitive science and the humanities. We marvel at the creative dexterity of gifted speakers and writers for their special talents in both thinking about certain ideas in new ways, and communicating these thoughts in vivid, poetic forms. Yet metaphors may not only be special communicative devices, but a fundamental part of everyday cognition in the form of 'conceptual metaphors'. An enormous body of empirical evidence from cognitive (...) linguistics and related disciplines has emerged detailing how conceptual metaphors underlie significant aspects of language, thought, cultural and expressive action. Despite its influence and popularity, there have been major criticisms of conceptual metaphor. This book offers an evaluation of the arguments and empirical evidence for and against conceptual metaphors, much of which scholars on both sides of the wars fail to properly acknowledge. (shrink)
The extent to which machine metaphors are used in synthetic biology is striking. These metaphors contain a specific perspective on organisms as well as on scientific and technological progress. Expressions such as “genetically engineered machine”, “genetic circuit”, and “platform organism”, taken from the realms of electronic engineering, car manufacturing, and information technology, highlight specific aspects of the functioning of living beings while at the same time hiding others, such as evolutionary change and interdependencies in ecosystems. Since these latter aspects are (...) relevant for, for example, risk evaluation of uncontained uses of synthetic organisms, it is ethically imperative to resist the thrust of machine metaphors in this respect. In addition, from the perspective of the machine metaphor viewing an entity as a moral agent or patient becomes dubious. If one were to regard living beings, including humans, as machines, it becomes difficult to justify ascriptions of moral status. Finally, the machine metaphor reinforces beliefs in the potential of synthetic biology to play a decisive role in solving societal problems, and downplays the role of alternative technological, and social and political measures. (shrink)
Recent philosophical analyses of the epistemic dimension of images in the sciences show a certain trend in acknowledging potential roles of these images beyond their merely decorative or pedagogical functions. We argue, however, that this new debate has yet paid little attention to a special type of pictures, we call ‘visual metaphor’, and its versatile heuristic potential in organizing data, supporting communication, and guiding research, modeling, and theory formation. Based on a case study of Conrad Hal Waddington’s epigenetic landscape (...) images in biology, we develop a descriptive framework applicable to heuristic roles of various visual metaphors in the sciences. (shrink)
Languages around the world use a recurring strategy to discuss abstract concepts: describe them metaphorically, borrowing language from more concrete domains. We “plan ahead” to the future, “count up” to higher numbers, and “warm” to new friends. Past work has found that these ways of talking have implications for how we think, so that shared systems of linguistic metaphors can produce shared conceptualizations. On the other hand, these systematic linguistic metaphors might not just be the cause but also the effect (...) of shared, non‐linguistic ways of thinking. Here, we present a case study of a variety of American English in which a shared, non‐linguistic conceptualization of time has become crystallized as a new system of linguistic metaphors. Speakers of various languages, including English, conceptualize time as a lateral timeline, with the past leftward and the future rightward. Until now, this conceptualization has not been documented in the speech of any language. In two studies, we document how members of the U.S. military, but not U.S. civilians, talk about time using conventionalized lateral metaphors (e.g., “move the meeting right” to mean “move the meeting later”). We argue that, under the right cultural circumstances, implicit mental representations become conventionalized metaphors in language. (shrink)
I propose that an account of metaphor understanding which covers the full range of cases has to allow for two routes or modes of processing. One is a process of rapid, local, on-line concept construction that applies quite generally to the recovery of word meaning in utterance comprehension. The other requires a greater focus on the literal meaning of sentences or texts, which is metarepresented as a whole and subjected to more global, reflective pragmatic inference. The questions whether metaphors (...) convey a propositional content and what role imagistic representation plays receive somewhat different answers depending on the processing route. (shrink)
On a familiar and prima facie plausible view of metaphor, speakers who speak metaphorically say one thing in order to mean another. A variety of theorists have recently challenged this view; they offer criteria for distinguishing what is said from what is merely meant, and argue that these support classifying metaphor within 'what is said'. I consider four such criteria, and argue that when properly understood, they support the traditional classification instead. I conclude by sketching how we might (...) extract a workable notion of 'what is said' from ordinary intuitions about saying. (shrink)
We develop a new metaphor account where metaphors become surrogate variables for different but related phenomena. As we will argue, subrogation is the result of the interplay between the things inspired by the metaphor and the empirical dynamics that result from such inspiration. In particular, we focus on adaptive radiation, a major concept of evolutionary biology. Our study suggests that there is no distinct phenomenon, process, or pattern in nature than can be identified as adaptive radiation. What we (...) have instead is a grouping variable that has surrogated different evolutionary phenomena into one expansive label. We believe this analysis of metaphors helps better understand the value of metaphors for science not only as a provider of epistemic and cognitive virtues but most importantly, as a crucial research tool that can both help and divert scientific experimentation. (shrink)
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)
This study investigates metaphoric gestures in face-to-face conversation. It is found that gestures of this kind are mainly performed in the central gesture space with noticeable and discernable configurations, providing visible evidence for cross-domain cognitive mappings and the grounding of conceptual metaphors in people's recurrent bodily experiences and in what people habitually do in social and cultural practices. Moreover, whether metaphorical thinking is conveyed by gesture exclusively or along with metaphoric speech, the manual enactment of even conventional metaphors manifests dynamism (...) in communicating metaphors. Metaphoric gestures can provide salient, additional information about the aspect of the conceptualization which is the speaker's focus of attention in real-time multimodal communication. (shrink)
Over the last few decades there has been a phenomenal growth of interest in metaphor as a device which extends or revises our perception of the world. Clive Cazeaux examines the relationship between metaphor, art and science, against the backdrop of modern European philosophy and, in particular, the work of Kant, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. He contextualizes recent theories of the cognitive potential of metaphor within modern European philosophy and explores the impact which the notion of cognitive (...) class='Hi'>metaphor has on key positions and concepts within aesthetics, epistemology and the philosophy of science. (shrink)
The interpretation of metaphorical utterances often results in the attribution of emergent properties, which are neither standardly associated with the individual constituents in isolation nor derivable by standard rules of semantic composition. An adequate pragmatic account of metaphor interpretation must explain how these properties are derived. Using the framework of relevance theory, we propose a wholly inferential account, and argue that the derivation of emergent properties involves no special interpretive mechanisms not required for the interpretation of ordinary, literal utterances.
La métaphore est un instrument indispensable pour les analyses scientifiques. Mais elle nécessite un usage réflexif qui en précise le statut car celui-ci peut être divers et n’est pas sans effet sur la théorie comme sur diverses pratiques. Ainsi, les analystes et acteurs des transports ont usé – et probablement abusé – du recours à la physique des fluides pour leurs métaphores. Aujourd’hui, les développements de la physique, par exemple dans les domaines des fractales ou de la percolation, ouvrent des (...) perspectives nouvelles et prometteuses. Cette évolution montre aussi que les chercheurs en sciences sociales auraient intérêt à renouveler les métaphores qu’ils emploient et qui sont souvent assez archaïques. Ainsi, la référence à des espaces à n dimensions et à l’hypertexte permet de faire rebondir les analyses de Georg Simmel, bridées par le recours à une géométrie plane trop sommaire.Metaphors are indispensable tools for scientific investigation. They should be used in such a way that their status as metaphor is clear, however, for their various uses are not without consequence for theory and practice. In the area of transportation, analysts and practitioners have drawn metaphors from the physics of fluids, but recent developments in the theories of fractals and percolation offer promising perspectives. Generally speaking, as these developments suggest, social scientists stand to benefit from renewing their current metaphors, which are often quite archaic. Thus, Georg Simmel’s analyses – which are constrained by the reference to plan – stand to be revitalized by a reference to N-dimensional spaces and to hypertext. (shrink)
The unit of metaphor isn’t always a complete sentence; often it is a single word or phrase. In such a case, the word or phrase in question makes a nonstandard, metaphorically determined contribution to the propositional content of the sentence in which it appears, a content whose other ingredients are determined in routine ways by routine recursive procedures of truth-conditional semantics. In this respect, metaphor belongs to semantics. In other respects, it doesn’t belong to semantics at all. To (...) identify what Yeats contributed to the content of his own sentence when he wrote. (shrink)
This study aims to contribute to the research on spatial metaphors for morality from the perspective of Chinese. It outlines the linguistic patterns in Chinese that manifest the putative underlying spatial subsystem of moral metaphors, which can be summarized by a central metaphor “MORALITY IS SPATIALITY.” In doing so, it focuses on 17 spatial words that instantiate in real-life discourses five pairs of moral–spatial metaphors in their positive and negative valence. The total of 10 metaphors under study forms a (...) cluster as the spatial metaphor subsystem operating in conjunction and connection with other metaphor subsystems in our moral cognition. It is suggested that the 10 conceptual metaphors emerge from four image schemas: UP-DOWN, BALANCE, PATH, and OBJECT. A unified schematic configuration is proposed to lay out the spatial elements and relations represented by the four image schemas in a single diagram. Based on its linguistic analysis, the study also provides a list of prototypical target as... (shrink)
Studies have suggested that metaphors (Lawyers are sharks) and similes (Lawyers are like sharks) have distinct representations: metaphors engender more figurative and abstract properties, whereas similes engender more literal properties. We investigated to what extent access to such representations occurs automatically, during on-line reading. In particular, we examined whether similes convey a more literal meaning by following the metaphors and similes with explanations that expressed either a figurative (dangerous) or a literal property (fish) of the vehicle. In a self-paced reading (...) with a moving window paradigm, we presented participants with negated simile and metaphor main clauses (Lawyers are not (like) sharks) followed by explanations that also negated either a figurative (because lawyers are not dangerous) or a literal property of the vehicle (because lawyers are not fish). We found that vehicles (sharks) in metaphors were read significantly faster than those in similes. In addition, explanations negating a figurative property were read faster after metaphors, whereas explanations negating a literal property were read faster after similes. These results support the hypothesis that metaphors and similes rely on different interpretive processes, suggesting that similes access literal representations while metaphor access figurative ones in real time. (shrink)
This paper examines patterns of metaphor in usage. Four samples of text excerpts of on average 47,000 words each were taken from the British National Corpus and annotated for metaphor. The linguistic metaphor data were collected by five analysts on the basis of a highly explicit identification procedure that is a variant of the approach developed by the Pragglejaz Group (Metaphor and Symbol 22: 1–39, 2007). Part of this paper is a report of the protocol and (...) the reliability of the procedure. Data analysis shows that, on average, one in every seven and a half lexical units in the corpus is related to metaphor defined as a potential cross-domain mapping in conceptual structure. It also appears that the bulk of the expression of metaphor in discourse consists of non-signalled metaphorically used words, not similes. The distribution of metaphor-related words, finally, turns out to be quite variable between the four registers examined in this study: academic texts have 18.5%, news 16.4%, fiction 11.7%, and conversation 7.7%. The systematic comparative investigation of these registers raises new questions about the relation between cognitive linguistic and other approaches to metaphor. (shrink)
Conceptual Metaphor Theory makes some strong claims against so-called Classical Theory which spans the accounts of metaphors from Aristotle to Davidson. Most of these theories, because of their traditional literal-metaphorical distinction, fail to take into account the phenomenon of conceptual metaphor. I argue that the underlying mechanism for explaining metaphor bears some striking resemblances among all of these theories. A mapping between two structures is always expressed. Conceptual Metaphor Theory insists, however, that the literal-metaphorical distinction of (...) Classical Theories is empirically wrong. I claim that this criticism is based rather on terminological decisions than on empirical issues. Conceptual Metaphor Theory focusses primarily on conventional metaphors and struggles to extend its mechanism to novel metaphors, whereas Classical Theories focus on novel metaphors and struggle to extend their mechanisms to conventional metaphors. Since all of these theories study metaphors from the synchronic point of view, they are unable to take into account any semantic change. A diachronic perspective is what we need here, one which would allow us to explain the role of metaphor in semantic change and the development of language in general. (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.
Metaphor has been considered as a cognitive process, independent of the verbal versus visual mode, through which an unknown conceptual domain is understood in terms of another known conceptual domain. Metaphor might instead be viewed as a cognitive process, dependent on the mode, which leads to genuinely new knowledge via ignorance. First, I argue that there are two main senses of ignorance at stake when we understand a metaphor: we ignore some existing properties of the known domain (...) in the sense that we disregard or neglect them; we ignore some “non-existing” properties of the known domain in the sense that they are not a piece of information belonging to the known domain, but emerge in metaphor interpretation. Secondly, I consider a metaphor as a reasoning device, guiding the interpreters along a path of inferences to a conclusion, which attributes to the target some properties of the source. In this path, interpreters might discover the ignored existing properties of the known domain and/or recover the “non-existing” properties, inferring or imagining the missing piece of information. Finally, I argue that, especially in visual metaphors, this process is guided by a “sentiment of rationality”, tracking a disruption of existing familiar conceptualisations of objects and/or actions and a recovery of ignored properties. (shrink)
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)
Is it possible to talk about God without either misrepresentation or failing to assert anything of significance? The article begins by reviewing how, in attempting to answer this question, traditional theories of religious language have failed to sidestep both potential pitfalls adequately. After arguing that recently developed theories of metaphor seem better able to shed light on the nature of religious language, it considers the claim that huge areas of our language and, consequently, of our experience are shaped by (...) metaphors. Finally, it considers some of the more significant implications of this claim for our understanding of both religious language and religious experience. (shrink)