Métaphore, métaphorologie, métaphilosophie

par Andreas Heise

Projet de thèse en Philosophie et sciences sociales

Sous la direction de François Récanati.

Thèses en préparation à Paris, EHESS , dans le cadre de École doctorale de l'École des hautes études en sciences sociales depuis le 19-04-2016 .


  • Résumé

    The research project investigates the following question: What is the methodological significance of metaphor for philosophy? A common view has it that metaphors are indispensable for doing philosophy (cf. Grant, 2010). In talking, writing, and thinking of philosophical topics such as the human mind, emotions, and metaphysics, we can’t help but to rely on metaphors. The human mind is a machine, emotions are cold or hot, and the world grounds our knowledge. To think that metaphors are methodologically significant, or even indispensable, for philosophy is to adopt a metaphilosophical position that may be termed metaphorology (Keil, 2010). While there are different ways to conceive of methodological significance, the research project focuses on metaphorologies that take metaphors to be significant from an epistemological point of view (Haack, 1994). By means of a review of the recent literature in philosophy, cognitive linguistics, and the social sciences, it singles out two roles that metaphors play in this respect (Camp, 2007; Dancygier & Sweetser, 2014; Ervas & Sangoi, 2014; French & Wettstein, 2001; Gibbs, 2008; Glucksberg, 2001; Gola & Ervas, 2016; Hanks & Giora, 2012; Hernández Iglesias, 2003; Herrmann & Sardinha, 2015; Keil, 1993; Ortony, 1993; Radman, 1995): - (F1) Heuristic role: By providing a basis for analogical reasoning, metaphors promote conceptual innovation. - (F2) Hermeneutic role: By uncovering another level of meaning or content, metaphors offer a reinterpretation of some given discourse. For metaphorology to have explanatory power, be it in its heuristic or in its hermeneutic guise, practitioners need to endorse a view about how metaphor affects our way of speaking, seeing, thinking, and, ultimately, understanding. To clarify this conceptual link between metaphor theory and metaphorology constitutes a desideratum for research (Keil, 2010; Mende, 2009). The research project responds to this challenge by engaging with the most recent contributions to metaphor theory within analytic philosophy of language (Bezuidenhout, 2001; Camp, 2006, 2013; Carston, 2010; Lepore & Stone, 2015; Martínez-Manrique & Vicente, 2013; Nogales, 2012; Recanati, 2001; Reimer, 2007; Sperber & Wilson, 2008; Stern, 2011; Tsohatzidis, 1994; Wearing, 2006; White, 2001). It argues that a theory of metaphor would have to explain the following two phenomena: - (P1) Open-endedness: Metaphors are open-ended in such a way that they either defy paraphrase or that they fail to specify what an adequate paraphrase amounts to (Cavell, 2002; Davidson, 1978). - (P2) Cognitive significance: Metaphors involve at least two levels of meaning, that is they carry cognitive content beyond the literal meaning of the sentence uttered (Black, 1954, 1979; Grice, 1989; Searle, 1979). The problem arising is whether there is a viable theory of metaphor satisfying these two criteria of adequacy. If there were no theory of metaphor living up to both P1 and P2, then it would be questionable whether there is one unified concept of metaphor underlying metaphorology’s metaphilosophical approach. In part I of the thesis, the research project develops and defends a pragmatic theory of metaphor (cf. Bowdle & Gentner, 2005; Camp, 2003; Lycan, 2013; White, 1996) that reconciles the two desiderata by combining features of the influential views of Donald Davidson (1978), Paul Grice (1989b), and John Searle (1979). In part II of the thesis, the research project applies this theory to assess the coherence of three types of metaphorolgy, these being target domain-based metaphorologies, source domain-based metaphorologies, and figuralism. This discussion will show the limits and the purview of metaphorology as a metaphilosophical approach, thereby contributing to answering the guiding question.