Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7f7b94f6bd-59m7g Total loading time: 0.466 Render date: 2022-06-28T10:59:20.640Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

How We Resist Metaphors

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 October 2021

RAYMOND W. GIBBS JR.
Affiliation:
Independent scholar
JOSIE SIMAN
Affiliation:
Universidad Estadual de Campinas – Unicamp

Abstract

Most people love metaphor, but we still sometimes find ourselves resisting their presence or meanings for various reasons. We resist metaphors both as a general strategy (e.g., “Metaphors are meaningless” or “Mixed metaphor are incoherent”), and as a response to some metaphors in very specific situational and discourse contexts (e.g., “I do not like the idea that my cancer treatment is seen as a war against my body”). People resist metaphors they have produced, metaphors imposed on them by others, and metaphors that they find to be offensive or that negatively stigmatize other individuals, or groups of people. But metaphors are also resisted for their lack of explanatory power in, for instance, scientific communities. There are also many ironies associated with metaphor resistance, such as consciously resisting some metaphor while still being governed by that same metaphor in our unconscious thinking and actions. Most generally, though, metaphor resistance is its own kind of metaphorical action. Taking a dynamic systems approach to resistance to metaphors, we discuss several implications of these observations for theories of metaphorical thought and language.

Type
Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

Address for correspondence: e-mail: raymondwgibbs@gmail.com.

References

Aristotle (1995). Poetics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Cantalupo, C. (1988). Hobbes’s use of metaphor. Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture 1660–1700 12(1), 2032.Google Scholar
Chemero, A. (2011). Radical embodied cognitive science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Chomsky, N. (1959). A review of B. F. Skinner’s ‘Verbal Behavior’. Language 35, 2657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davidson, D. (2005). Meaning, truth, language and reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
de Lavalette, K., Andone, C. & Steen, G. (2019). I did not say that the government should be plundering anybody’s savings: resistance to metaphors expressing starting points in parliamentary debates. Journal of Language and Politics 18(5), 218238.Google Scholar
Elmore, K. & Luna-Lucero, M. (2017). Light bulbs or seeds? How metaphors for ideas influence judgments about genius. Social Psychological and Personality Science 8(2), 200208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gentner, D. & Grudin, J. (1985). The evolution of mental metaphors in psychology: a 90-year retrospective. American Psychologist 40(2), 181192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gibbs, R. (1994). The poetics of mind: figurative thought, language, and understanding. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Gibbs, R. (2003). Embodied meanings in performing, interpreting and talking about dance improvisation. In Albright, C. & Gere, D. (eds), Taken by surprise: a dance improvisation reader (pp. 121138). Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.Google Scholar
Gibbs, R. (2006). Embodiment and cognitive science. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Gibbs, R. (2016). Introduction. In Gibbs, R. (ed.), Mixing metaphor (pp. viixix). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Gibbs, R. (2017). Metaphor wars: conceptual metaphor in human life. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gibbs, R. (2019). Metaphor as dynamical–ecological performance. Metaphor and Symbol 34(1), 3344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gibbs, R., Tendahl, M. & Okonski, L. (2011). Inferring pragmatic messages from metaphor. Lodz Papers in Pragmatics 7(1), 328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goethals, T., Mortelmans, D., Van den Bulck, H., Van den Heurck, W. & Van Hove, G. (2020). I am not your metaphor: frames and counter-frames in the representation of disability. Disability & Society. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hart, C. (2021). Animals vs. armies: resistance to extreme metaphors in anti-immigration discourse. Journal of Language and Politics 20(2), 226253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hawkes, T. (1972). Metaphor. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
Kuhn, T. (1957). The structure of scientific revolutions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Lakoff, G. (1996). Moral politics. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Landau, M. (2018). Using metaphor to find meaning in life. Review of General Psychology 22, 6272.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lonergan, J. & Gibbs, R. (2016). Tackling mixed metaphor in discourse: corpus and psychological studies. In Gibbs, R. (ed.), Mixing metaphor (pp. 5774). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Meier, B. Moeller, S., Riemer-Peltz, M. & Robinson, M. (2012). Sweet taste preferences and experiences predict pro-social inferences, personalities, and behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 102(1), 163174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nayak, N. & Gibbs, R. (1990). Conceptual knowledge in the interpretation of idioms. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 119(3), 315330.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ottati, V., Rhoads, S. & Graesser, A. (1999). The effect of metaphor on processing style in a persuasion task: a motivational resonance model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77(4), 688697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pender, E. (2003). Plato on metaphors and models. In Boys-Stones, G. R. (ed.), Metaphor, allegory, and the classical tradition: ancient thought and modern revisions (pp. 5581). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pinker, S. (2007). The stuff of thought. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
Rich, A. (1955). The Diamond Cutters: and other poems. New York: Harper and Brothers.Google Scholar
Rich, A. (1975). Poems: selected and new, 1950–1974. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
Schalk, S. (2013). Metaphorically speaking: ableist metaphors in feminist writing. Disability Studies Quarterly 33(4).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Seixas, E. (2021). WAR metaphors in political communication on Covid-19. Frontiers in Sociology, 5.Google Scholar
Siqueira, M. & Gibbs, R. (2007). Children’s acquisition of primary metaphors: a cross-linguistic study. Organon 43, 161179.Google Scholar
Skinner, B. (1977). Why I am not a cognitive psychologist. Behaviorism 5(2), 110.Google Scholar
Sontag, S. (1978). Illness as metaphor. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.Google Scholar
Sontag, S. (1989). AIDS and its metaphors. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.Google Scholar
Sperber, D., Clément, F., Heintz, C., Mascaro, O., Mercier, H., Origgi, G. & Wilson, D. (2010). Epistemic vigilance. Mind & Language 25(4), 359393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spivey, M. (2020). Who you are: the science of connectedness. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stebbing, S. (1939). Thinking to some purpose. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
Stebbing, S. (1934). Logic in practice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Vidali, A. (2010). Seeing what we know: disability and theories of metaphor. Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 4(1), 3354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wackers, D., Plug, J. & Steen, G. (2021). For crying out loud, don’t call me a warrior: standpoints of resistance against violence metaphors. Journal of Pragmatics 174, 6877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wegner, D., Erber, R., Bowerman, R. & Shelton, J. (1996). On trying not to be sexist. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
Wegner, D., Schneider, D., Carter, S. & White, T. (1987). Paradoxical effects of thought suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 53(1), 513.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wierzbicka, A. (2001). What did Jesus mean? Explaining the sermon on the mount and the parables in simple and universal human concepts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wilson, T. (2002). Strangers to ourselves: discovering the adaptive unconscious. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

How We Resist Metaphors
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

How We Resist Metaphors
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

How We Resist Metaphors
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *