[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/functions.php on line 4752: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3887)
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/functions.php on line 4754: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3887)
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/functions.php on line 4755: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3887)
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/functions.php on line 4756: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3887)
zompist bboard • View topic - Metaphors We Live By

zompist bboard

THIS IS AN ARCHIVE ONLY - see Ephemera
It is currently Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:59 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 36 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Metaphors We Live By
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:34 pm 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 9:05 am
Posts: 275
Location: Nottingham, England

_________________
Try the online version of the HaSC sound change applier:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:49 pm 
Sanci
Sanci
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 9:14 pm
Posts: 38
Location: Here, where the world is quiet
Can I be the official passive-spectator-only-speaking-up-to-ask-annoying-questions-from-time-to-time? I don't know anything about the subject, but I'd be extremely interested in learning more. Of course, my interest is mainly from a conlanging angle; I have no idea how one could go about inventing a system of metaphors of the sort the book talks about. But spectating while other people discuss the metaphors used by other languages would seem to be a good start.....


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:04 pm 
Sanci
Sanci
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 5:13 am
Posts: 40
Location: Denver, CO
Great minds think alike, I guess...

I've been meaning to post a list of the metaphors cited in the book, so that people could go through and make their changes. Of course, it wouldn't be all of them, by any means, but it would be a good start. Maybe I'll get to it this weekend...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:18 pm 
Lebom
Lebom
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 8:10 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Austin fuckin Texas

_________________
<Dudicon> i would but you're too fat to fit in my mouth!!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:20 pm 
Niš
Niš
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 4:49 pm
Posts: 4
Location: I hail from From.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:24 pm 
Sanno
Sanno
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2002 9:00 am
Posts: 3687
Location: Rogers Park/Evanston
When I starting learning Chinese, I had difficulty learning the use shang4 "above" and xia4 "below" to mean, respectively "last" and "next" with regard to time (e.g. shang4ci4 "last time", xia4xing1qi2 "next week"). Because we don't really use a vertical orientation of the TIME=SPACE metaphor in English, I only got a grip on it by creating the image of time rising past my head and referring to that when I needed to make the distinction. Literally, when I need to say "last Tuesday", I imagine Tuesday as a gossamer blob and visualise it rising slowly in the air until it's over my head.

This causes problems, however, when it comes to shang4wu3 "morning" and xia4wu3 "afternoon". For reasons I can't explain, I naturally think of morning as being "below" afternoon even though on desk calendars it's always in the upper half of the square. I need to visualise "noon" as a physical division, spatially associate it with the horizontal plane of my head, and "see" where that puts the expired morning and the approaching afternoon relative to each other.

I won't consider myself "proficient" in Chinese, much less fluent, until I can dispense with these visualisations and extend the metaphor without even having to think about it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 8:26 pm 
Sanno
Sanno
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 5:00 pm
Posts: 3197
Location: One of the dark places of the world
Not entirely on topic, but you know what's recently been fascinating me about metaphor? Truth.

Most claims - "all dogs are blue" - can be argued with. I can show a person certain evidence (eg a non-blue dog) he can accept that evidence as being true, and, if he is rational, he can then admit that his statement was false.

But with a metaphor - "no man is an island" - what evidence can I give him? I can show him many ways in which some men are islands, or in which time is not money, and he can accept everything i say as being true.... and still rationally say 'yes, but that's not what i meant by it' or 'yes, but still, there is a way in which time IS money'. And I don't think that there is any piece of evidence I can give to make someone not think of time as money any more.

Now, one thing this suggests, in particular with the reply "yes, all that is true, but that's not what i meant", is that if you do know what is meant, you can't disagree with a metaphor - because if you could, you could give the piece of evidence that refutes 'what he means'. So understanding it is agreeing with it.

But then again, that assumes there IS some piece of evidence, just hidden by us not really knowing exactly what is meant. Maybe there isn't any.

So, two people can hold EXACTLY the same views about EVERYTHING except a metaphor, yet one can say its true and the other say its false and both be equally justified. If that's true, that requires a weird definition of what is true.

Unless, of course, metaphors are things that are true in a different way - or things that aren't true or false at all.

If a metaphor isn't true or false - that is, makes no indicative statement about the world, what is it? Is a metaphor just an expression of the speaker's emotions?Or does it express something else? Or DOES it express some indicative claim about the world, just not one that is true or false? What kind of claim is neither true nor false? And do they claim to be true or false, even if they aren't?

_________________
Blog:

But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping
as though her heart was brook: Why, why, why! Weh, O weh
I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 8:40 pm 
Niš
Niš
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:28 am
Posts: 5
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

_________________
Dyrr dämil älsehhe määkmäsin öödim, meldälttee umamso emehhe kaaþþaa lenna, duþþuran maaks; söddh öksökseen kääþþessee, töyksöin llennileenal.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:58 pm 
Boardlord
Boardlord

Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 8:26 pm
Posts: 3377
Location: In the den
Interesting points, Salmoneus. Still, I wouldn't dismiss metaphors as unrelated to truth.

Here's one line of thought: can you restate the metaphor without using any new metaphors? My intuition is that you'll often get a quantified statement: e.g. "No man is an island" :> "Most men are connected socially, economically, or emotionally to other people." If that's a good restatement, then it's not surprising that "Some men are islands" isn't a refutation.

Similarly, for "time is money" you might end up with "In many cases acting early is more lucrative", which you could probably only refute by showing that such cases are vanishingly rare.

So perhaps you're noticing that most common metaphors are in fact commonplaces-- they're hard to argue with precisely because they don't say much of real interest.

But that doesn't have to be the case. Take "Property is theft"... I think I understand what it means perfectly, and yet I can disagree with it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:37 am 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 9:05 am
Posts: 275
Location: Nottingham, England

_________________
Try the online version of the HaSC sound change applier:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:20 am 
Sanci
Sanci

Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:44 am
Posts: 60
Location: greece

_________________
'I speak esperanto like a native'


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:32 am 
Sanci
Sanci

Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 8:27 pm
Posts: 36


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:05 pm 
Sanno
Sanno
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2002 9:00 am
Posts: 3687
Location: Rogers Park/Evanston


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:04 pm 
Lebom
Lebom
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 8:10 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Austin fuckin Texas

_________________
<Dudicon> i would but you're too fat to fit in my mouth!!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:27 pm 
Sanci
Sanci

Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 8:27 pm
Posts: 36
Regarding your post above, Space, everything you're saying about metaphor is essentially consistent with Lakoff and Johnson's book because the statement you make in your 2nd-to-last paragraph is not quite correct about their book. Lakoff and Johnson are NOT suggesting that metaphor is the basis for ALL human conceptualization, but only for ABSTRACT conceptualization. In other words, our subconscious dependence on conceptual metaphors is only necessary for thinking about abstract concepts, not tangibles directly accessible to the five sences or to internal proprioceptive capacities (e.g., feeling hot, cold, etc.). They make this even clearer in their "sequel" to Metaphors We Live By, their grand 1999 opus Philosophy In the Flesh. Thus, everything you're saying is entirely consistent with Lakoff and Johnson, and is, in fact, the foundation for Fauconnier & Turner's extension of conceptual metaphor into what they call "conceptual blending" in which new meaning emerges synergistically that is not contained within the component metaphorical elements themselves, a simple example being "That surgeon is a butcher" where neither "surgeon" nor "butcher" by themselves connotes the idea of "incompetence."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:32 pm 
Lebom
Lebom
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 8:10 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Austin fuckin Texas

_________________
<Dudicon> i would but you're too fat to fit in my mouth!!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:43 pm 
Sanno
Sanno
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 5:00 pm
Posts: 3197
Location: One of the dark places of the world
Well Spack, I'm aware by now that everyone reads a different Wittgenstein, but your's is totally new to me! The one I read spends most of his time directly attacking the position that meaning is something beyond language, that we have a meaning in our minds when we say something that our interlocutor must reconstruct. Meaning, he says, is use - the meaning is ONLY in what is said and what is conventional, with no mental content at all.


I agree with you in disagreeing with Zomp about rephrasing. I don't think any rephrasing need be able to capture what is meant with the original metaphor. I can believe that man is NOT inevitably connected to others, yet still believe that no man is an island. I don't understand how anyone can understand 'property is theft' yet claim it to be false - certainly one can claim false any normative command gathered from it, or any specific analogy made, but I don't see how you can call the claim itself false - what exactly is it that you are claiming false? What facts about the world - even abstract, or moral facts - does that statement make that you claim are false?



An interesting case is Blake: '"What," it will be Question'd, "When the Sun rises, do you not see a round disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea?" O no, no, I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying, `Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.''

So, if I say "the sunrise is a company of angels praising the glory of the lord God" - and I say this not as a fact but as a metaphor - can what I say be false? Keep in mind that I am saying this as a man who does not believe in God, or angels. Yet I can still see that as a true - or at least not false - statement, at least on some mornings. And I don't see what facts about the world it is claiming - because I think that that belief in ANY fact can be compatible wit belief in the metaphor.


"Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels"
The statements - a) the streets are muttering, b) the streets are the retreats of restless nights. Neither is clearly literal; they are both metaphorical. What actual claims do they make about the world, though? In what circumstances would those statements be false?

See, I can read through a poem like that, and for every metaphorical statement the narrator makes, I can say either "yes, that is true, we HAVE lingered in the chambers of the sea", or I can say "I don't see HOW that is true", but I don't think I can say ever "no, that's false, the evening is NOT like a patient etherised upon a table". Even with poets or writers I disagree with - I can disagree with their implications, I can oppose their intentions - but I don't think I can claim their statements false.

"the dog is blue" - this can be disproved
"the dog is like a giant cactus" - how do you disprove this?
"the dog is a giant cactus" - understood as metaphor, how do you disprove this?




I can concede that things like 'no man is an island' MIGHT be false, but only because they have stopped being metaphors - overuse has made them idioms. THat is, I think metaphors may have some implicative content, and overuse makes that implication into the denotation of the phrase. It just becomes a unit, not composit. Or possibly it is that 'island' has aquired a more general meaning as a discrete entity or unit, rather than just a bit of land surrounded by sea.


spack: perhaps we are using different meanigns of meaning. Perhaps I should use 'denotation' instead.

_________________
Blog:

But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping
as though her heart was brook: Why, why, why! Weh, O weh
I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:57 pm 
Sanno
Sanno
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 5:00 pm
Posts: 3197
Location: One of the dark places of the world
Hmm. Maybe I ought briefly to state my own opinion on the matter:

I don't think that metaphors have indicative denotation. However, nor do I believe that they are expressions of emotion.

I think that a 'view of the world', a 'model' or whatever actually has two types of data in it, which are not reducible to each other - which we might call point and pattern. Point data is normal facts about the world, that make up knowledge. Pattern data is... some other sort of thing... that makes up understanding.

For instance, to pick a metaphor, I can hear the same notes, exactly, on two different occassions, but only once hear the tune. Likewise, I think that on two occassions I can know exactly the same information about a thing, but only once 'spot the tune' or 'realise how everything fits together' or 'see how it makes sense', or 'understand' the thing.

I see description as the process of providing point data, and explanation as providing pattern data.

I think moreover that understanding something is seeing a collection of things AS a particular total item. Seeing an aspect, to borrow the phrase. The same data can have different patterns imposed on it, so that we see the same item as different things on different occassions - one lesson from dreams is that data about an object need not correlate with what we see it as.


[Hmm. I realise this doesn't make sense, and is self-contradictory. more thought required, i feel]

So I think metaphors are conveying pattern data - telling us what to see things as. So I think we can either succeed in doing so, or fail in doing so; but since I think 'truth' is a matter of whether point data fits in with other point data, I don't [[[[oh dear, this really is bollocks now and completely disagreeing with other things i believe]]] think metaphors (since any pattern is compatible with any array of point data) are falsifiable.


Oh dear. I shall from now on refrain from auto-socratising myself. It hurts too much.

_________________
Blog:

But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping
as though her heart was brook: Why, why, why! Weh, O weh
I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:23 pm 
Boardlord
Boardlord

Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 8:26 pm
Posts: 3377
Location: In the den


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:42 pm 
Sanci
Sanci
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:05 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Elsewhere


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:31 pm 
Lebom
Lebom
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 2:12 am
Posts: 88
Location: Shenyang, China


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:48 pm 
Lebom
Lebom
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 2:12 am
Posts: 88
Location: Shenyang, China
Now to say something on the actual topic of the thread.....

When I learnt what a metaphor was, I was about 8 in primary school, and we were learning about literature and poetry (or "creative writing" as they call it when they think you're too short to cope with proper words). The etacher wa telling us the difference between a metaphor and a simile, in the context of descriptive devices we could use in our own writing. "A simile is when you say something is "like" somehting else; a metaphor is when you say it "is" something else."

The point is that a metaphor is a way of describig something, by using the associations we have already in our head with the other thing. They are not meant to be indicative statements of truth, nor are they emotional necessarily, they are figurative, ie non-literal (I know you know what this means, but it is important) ways of describing soemthing or making your point. Since they are non-literal, the fact that "some men are islands" would not contradict the metaphor "no man is an island" because it isn't a literal statement of truth, just a colourful and succinct way of saying that no human being is completely isolated from the effects of interaction with other people. A schizophrenic who lives in a his own internal world cut off from everything outside his own head is an island, but that doesn't contradict the metaphor any more than the fact that no man has a sandy shore or beaches does. The metaphor is just an illustration of your point: in an argument, your friend says he doesn't need anyone else, you say "yes you do. No man is an island." This is just a way of saying "everyone needs other people," or rather "in general people need other people, maybe not everyone, but I mean definitely you do." It isn't a statement of ultimate truth. The falseness in this situation would be if the friend you were talking to didn't actually need otehr peopel and could indeed be perfectly happy on his own. The schizophrenic sitting in the corner of his hospital toom has no bearing on your friend's need for companionship.

The truth is in what you use the metaphor to say - "no man is an island" could be used to mean we all need personal social interaction, or that we are all connected to other things ecologically, or to refer to cause and effect. The truth of the statement is in what the metaphor is employed to use, not in the metaphor itself.

But the ast word has to go to About a Boy:
"No man is an island, Will"
"Yes I am! I'm bloody Ibiza!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:07 am 
Sanci
Sanci

Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 4:43 am
Posts: 31
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
A very interesting topic. I haven't read the book yet, but I surely will.

Now my 2 cents [hah! another metaphor :D] on metaphor. I think we could see metaphor as a kind of scaffolding: it provides a general propositional framework for a particular reasoning or statement. So while the METAPHOR itself can not be assigned a truth value, the METAPHOR + CONTEXT can. Of course, the latter might still not be rigorously defined, but that's not particular to metaphors - it's the same for most of language.

As an example, let's take the use of the word "scaffolding" in the previous paragraph. Because you read this as a metaphor, you didn't think of the physical aspects of scaffolds, but rather of functional aspects of providing support, as a structure to work from on. However, the precise interpretation depends on what is 'worked on'. Moreover, I could have wanted to compare the physical nature of scaffolds to some other thing. So the metaphor in itself is an empty structure, that gets its content from the context.

However, there are some extremes. One is the case in which metaphors become so much used in a particular context, that they start losing their metaphorical qualities and develop into idiom. The context is no longer necessary for the interpretation, because the possible contexts are restricted to a very limited set. This, I think, is the case with 'No man is an island'. We know what it means; we can paraphrase it. Of course, it might marginally depend on the context (see the examples by Tengado), but it's meaning is more or less fixed. By the way, I don't think 'property is theft' is a good example, because I see that more as an ethical prescription, not as a proposition.

The other extreme is 'loose metaphor', poetic statements, where the combination of METAPHOR + CONTEXT might not result in a truth-evaluable statement. Here, metaphor is used so idiosyncratically, that we have no way of recovering the intended meaning, if there was one.

I think the most interesting cases lie between these two extremes. For instance, I can make up a particular metaphor that you've never heard before, and you'd still be able to understand it. When I say X is like Y, I'm not saying that X is Y. What I'm saying is that X shares shome characteristic with Y. However, this similarity might not very direct - and still you're able to pick it out of multiple possible, equally vague similarities. How do we achieve that? Why are some aspects more salient than others?

------------

From a sociolinguistic and cognitive viewpoint, I think some metaphors are also more interesting than others. These are the metaphors that shape our thought; the archetypical patterns of explanation for certain phenomena. I don't think 'no man is an island' is such a metaphor - it's just a stock phrase, although it might be a surface aspect of a stronger, underlying metaphor.

What I find interesting is how a lot of our 'folk psychology', the way we understand other people, is based on a curious mixture of Freudian theory, modern psychology and psychobabble. We talk about 'repression of memories', 'neurotic', 'unconscious desires', 'accepting things as they are'. Presumably our everyday understanding of other people's minds is different from that in the 19th century.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 10:23 am 
Sanno
Sanno
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2002 9:00 am
Posts: 3687
Location: Rogers Park/Evanston


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:14 pm 
Lebom
Lebom
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 8:10 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Austin fuckin Texas

_________________
<Dudicon> i would but you're too fat to fit in my mouth!!


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 36 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group