The understanding of metaphors

Essay samples

Theunderstanding of metaphors

Title:Compareand contrast Traditional understandings and contemporaryunderstandings of metaphor

Thesis:Thetraditional and contemporary understandings of metaphor offer somesimilarities as well as differences

  1. Thesis

  2. Arguments

  1. Differences between the traditional and contemporary understandings of metaphors

  1. Aristotle’s argument

  2. contemporary analysts

  1. The division in the traditional theory

  1. metaphor as figurative language

  2. assumptions in the traditional theory

  1. difference between the traditional and the contemporary theories on the basis of assumptions in the traditional theory

  2. The later discovered metaphors

  3. The approach that Aristotle used on metaphors

  1. Richards opposes the traditional theory

  2. The Richards interaction view

  1. The redefinition of the theory of metaphor by Richards

  1. John Searle’s view of metaphors

  1. Roman Jakobson understanding of metaphor’s

  2. Support of Aristotle’s view of metaphors by contemporary theorist.

  3. Why it is important to compare and contrast traditional and contemporary theories of metaphor.

  4. Conclusion

A)summary of thesis.

Compareand contrast Traditional understandings and contemporaryunderstandings ofmetaphor

Metaphorrefers to an aspect used in speech that makes implicit, implied orhidden the comparison between two things or objects that are separatefrom one another, but possess unique features between them. They arealso words used in defining two different things with similarcharacteristics. Metaphors are not just literary devices, but theyare things active in understanding. Most probably even to the verybasis of language. Many philosophers have made different argumentsthat try to discourse the metaphor. The arguments have a broadclassification into traditional and contemporary understanding ofmetaphor. The traditional understanding of metaphor discoursesarguments of philosophers such as Aristotle and Nietzsche while thecontemporary understanding incorporates the arguments of philosopherssuch as Lucan and Jakobson. The traditional and contemporaryunderstandings of metaphor offer some similarities as well asdifferences as the document discusses (Brown,2003).&nbsp

Discussion

Thereare a number of differences cited between the traditional andcontemporary understandings of metaphors. Aristotle argued thatmetaphors are hidden comparisons. The argument has, however, facedopposition from the contemporary analysts. The contemporary analystsargue that they are linguistic vehicles where a new thing getsconstructed. They argued that the definition of metaphors in terms ofexperiencing and understanding one thing in terms of another thing,the other things do not receive much notice. They further argued thatthe experienced thing is created by the terms. They, therefore,concluded that metaphors are not just poetic accompaniments inlanguage, but they also impart some effects on the actions andperceptions of the users. The argument possesses a great differencefrom Aristotle’s traditional argument that metaphors are justcomparisons in a hidden manner (Gannon&amp Pillai, 2010).&nbsp

Thedivision in the traditional theory on the case of figurative andliteral language is challenged by the modern research. Thecontemporary research states that metaphor is a figurative language.As a result, there is the definition that literal things are notmetaphorical in addition the traditional theory has made the use ofthe word literal based on assumptions that later came to get provedas wrong. One of the assumptions in the traditional theory that wasproved to be wrong is the fact that the daily conventional languagedoes not include metaphors, but is rather literal. The otherassumption was that the metaphor use was not necessary forcomprehending subject matters. They argued that subject matters hadtheir comprehension only in a literal manner (Gannon&amp Pillai, 2013).&nbsp

Thethird assumption in the traditional theory stated that only theliteral language could be true or false contingently. It also statedthat the definitions that got included in the languages’ lexiconare not metaphorical but rather literal. The final argument in thetraditional theory stated that all concepts incorporated in thelanguage’s grammar are literal and does not include metaphors. Themajor difference between the traditional and the contemporarytheories is on the basis of these assumptions. Jakobson’s view onthe case of these assumptions was contrary to the traditional view. It was because, in the recent years there has been the discovery ofconvectional, conceptual and applied&nbspmetaphors&nbspon aneveryday basis (Brown,2003).

Thediscovered metaphors structure the daily system that includesabstract concepts lying behind the daily language applied. Thediscoveries of the system in metaphors that have been proven to beenormous have played a role in destroying the traditional distinctionof literal and figurative language. It is due to the use of the wordliteral to define the traditional theory includes many of the falseassumptions. It brings about the difference between the classical andthe contemporary theories on the basis of the distinction between thefigurative and literal language. As a result of the distinction, anassumption can prevail on the interpretation of a metaphor. Onestarts with the literal meaning and then later on uses thealgorithmic process on the sentence (Gannon,2004).&nbsp

Theapproach that Aristotle used on the case of metaphors had not facedopposition until 1936. It was when Richards came up with metaphors’interaction view. The view opposed Aristotle’s concept of metaphoras ornamental or special use of language. It also criticized hisassumption that metaphor involved the substitution of the term foranother. Richards made a claim that metaphors relied on a complexthoughts interaction but not the linguistic substitutions process. Inthe explanation of how metaphor works as a double unit, Richardsbrought about the terms vehicle and tenor which refer to the name ofthe figurative term and to the principal subject respectively (Gannon&amp Pillai, 2010).

Richard’stheory on metaphor as the result of the interaction between tenor andvehicle got redefined later. The redefinition suggested thatmetaphors act as a filter where two or more subjects get to interactwith accordance to systems of related commonplaces to come up withmeanings for the entire sentence or phrase. John Searle also featuredand rejected both comparison and interaction of metaphor. He offeredthe understanding of the metaphor on the basis of speaker’sutterance meaning. About meaning and expression, he criticized thetraditional approaches to metaphors claiming that they attempted tolocate the metaphor’s meaning in the metaphorical expressions orsentences. Instead, he suggested that it be of importance to examinethe slippage between the word or sentence meaning and the speakersmeaning. He argued that metaphorical utterances do not work because aparticular juxtaposition of words brings out a change in the meaningof lexical elements but because the meaning of the speaker differsfrom the way they are literary used (Brown,2003).

Despitethe availability of divergent understandings on how metaphorsoperate, the twentieth century approaches headed by Roman Jakobsonhave just uniformly attempted to broaden the traditionalunderstanding of metaphor as a special language use. He also offereda metaphor’s theory as a basic cognitive or process an aspect alsodiscoursed in the traditional understanding of metaphor. Aristotlewho represents the traditional understanding of metaphor argued thatthe metaphor is a hidden comparison where an individual understands aparticular thing by considering another thing. In short Roman arguedthat the metaphor came to be viewed as the language’s omnipresentprinciple and as a concertizing experience as well as a basicorganizing pattern (Glucksberg&amp MacGlone, 2001).&nbsp

Inthe view of Aristotle, a metaphor is a sign of genius and mystery oflanguage. However Aristotle failed in its ornamental use and theappropriateness its use in poetry. He also made the use of metaphorsfor the enigmatic in the scientific and philosophical discourse. Onthe other hand, the contemporary philosophers who agree withAristotle’s limited view are few. However, some of the contemporaryphilosophers endorse Aristotle’s understanding of metaphor.Aristotle’s argument in his books topica is that there is adifference between metaphors and definitions. He moved on to arguethat a person should consider the ambiguity of latter (Inkson,2007).

Aristotlein his poetics stated that a metaphor is the issue of allocatingsomething a name that originally belongs to another thing. Thesuspicion that Aristotle had that there exist something devious aboutthe application of metaphors has also prevailed in the contemporarytheory. It is in the differentiation of the metaphorical language andthe literal language. The literal language is used in the technicaland also the scientific language while, on the other hand, themetaphorical language is used in the literary connoisseurs and alsoin the poetics (Brown,2003).

Acomparison and contrast of traditional and contemporary theories ofmetaphor are of importance due to several reasons. It is about bothAristotle and Jakobson’s theories where can be able to cite thedevelopment of metaphor. One of the reasons is because an individualcan perceive the advancement that has occurred on the case ofmetaphors from the Aristotle’s perception to Jakobson’s notion.It is also important in understanding of the development of technicalas well as scientific language from the traditional understanding ofmetaphors as Jakobson has clearly elaborated. The understanding ofthe metaphors has aided in explaining in the development of humanlanguage. They also play a role of explaining the cognitive aspectsof humanity (Glucksberg&amp MacGlone, 2001).

Conclusion

Therehas been great difference in the application of metaphors in theolden days from the present day. It has, therefore, broughtdifferences in the arguments made by earlier philosophers such asAristotle and philosophers of the present day such as Jacobson. Therehas also been the discovery of more elements used in metaphoricallanguage that has led to differences in understanding metaphors inthe past from the present.

References

Brown,T. L. (2003).&nbspMakingtruth: Metaphor in science.Chicago: University of Illinois press.

Gannon,M. J., &amp Pillai, R. (2010).&nbspUnderstandingglobal cultures: Metaphorical journeys through 29 nations, clustersof nations, continents, and diversity.Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE.

Gannon,M. J., &amp Pillai, R. (2013).&nbspUnderstandingglobal cultures: Metaphorical journeys through 31 nations, clustersof nations, continents, and diversity.Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.

Gannon,M. J. (2004).&nbspUnderstandingglobal cultures: Metaphorical journeys through 28 nations, clustersof nations, and continents.Thousand Oaks [u.a.: Sage Publ.

Glucksberg,S., &amp MacGlone, M. S. (2001).&nbspUnderstandingfigurative language: From metaphors to idioms.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Inkson,K. (2007).&nbspUnderstandingcareers: The metaphors of working lives.Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Summary

Metaphorrefers to an aspect used in speech that makes implicit, implied orhidden the comparison between two things or objects that are separatefrom one another, but possess unique features between them. There area number of differences cited between the traditional andcontemporary understandings of metaphors. The division in thetraditional theory on the case of figurative and literal language ischallenged by the modern research. Despite the availability ofdivergent understandings on how metaphors operate, the twentiethcentury approaches headed by Roman Jakobson have just uniformlyattempted to broaden the traditional understanding of metaphor as aspecial language use. In the view of Aristotle, a metaphor is a signof genius and mystery of language. However Aristotle failed in itsornamental use and the appropriateness its use in poetry. He alsomade the use of metaphors for the enigmatic in the scientific andphilosophical discourse.

Jakobson’sview on the case of assumptions in the traditional theory wasdifferent from the traditional view. It was because in the recentyears there has been the discovery of&nbspconvectional, conceptualand&nbsp &nbspapplied&nbspmetaphors&nbspon an everyday basis. Inthe view of Aristotle, a metaphor is a sign of genius and mystery oflanguage. The suspicion that Aristotle had that there exist somethingdevious about the application of metaphors has also prevailed in thecontemporary theory. A comparison and contrast of traditional andcontemporary theories of metaphor are of importance due to severalreasons. It is about both Aristotle and Jakobson’s theories wherecan be able to cite the development of metaphor. There has also beenthe discovery of more elements used in metaphorical language that hasled to differences in understanding metaphors in the past from thepresent.