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Joel Weinsheimer : On Metaphors

Posted by Remy on May 25, 2012

“If thought is indivisible from language, then thought is more fundamentally metaphorical rather than logical. . . . Metaphor, by contrast, consists in a reversible, oscillating, circular movement.  If pages are like leaves, then leaves are also like pages. Each sets up a resonance in the other, thereby leveling the hierarchy.  Whereas induction and deduction are vertical models of thought, concerned with the ‘higher’ universal and the ‘lower’ particular, metaphorical transference operates horizontally.  Like the iconic relation of existent to existent, or the emanation of the real from the real, metaphor connects two things on the same plane.  To say that a table has legs does not subsume it to the body; to say that the human body has a trunk does not abstract something common to it and a tree.  Neither descending nor ascending, neither subsumption nor abstraction, metaphor is a lateral movement.  Like deduction, metaphor begins with a concept, but the concept is changed by the transferred application; like induction, it ends with a new concept, but by the metamorphosis of a previous one.  Because it is horizontal, metaphor flattens out the difference between particular and general, unfamiliar and familiar. . . . even in such defamiliarizing tranferences as ‘the pages of the tree,’ the unique appeals back to the familiar and the singular to the common.”

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