Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 October 2021
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.