Thinking in Metaphors: Figurative Language and Ideas on the Mind

Antonina Harbus


Once you start looking for them, metaphors seem to appear everywhere, even in the most pedestrian places, and the line between metaphoric and non-metaphoric language becomes increasingly difficult to draw. Indeed, many theorists deny this distinction altogether, despite the rather prevalent view that metaphor is some kind of tricksy use of language most appropriate to literary contexts, especially poetry. But recent research has raised the possibility that we use metaphors not only to express ourselves in language, but also to formulate ideas: we think in metaphors. Some scholars continue to interpret metaphor primarily as a feature of language, while others now pursue it as a feature of thought. The relevance of theories of knowledge, the interpretation of discourse, and the importance of context have produced a now very complicated and variable set of considerations for this subject, which continues to attract a lot of interest and debate.

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