3. The Language of Life: Metaphor
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My chapter on “The Narrative of Text: Life” explored how the text shows a world to the reader, and how this world is appropriated through interpretation. In this chapter, I shall explore the nature of the existence that becomes available through texts. By exploring Ricoeur’s concept of metaphor, I will show how metaphorical language functions as an epistemological tool. I will explore Ricoeur’s claim that human existence fundamentally and structurally is linguistic and that the language of metaphor is the language of existence.
It was in 1967 that Ricoeur published his monumental work Symbolism of Evil, which methodically and provocatively analysed the problem of evil. Even though The Symbolism of Evil addressed the nature of myth and its symbolic status in language, Ricoeur soon saw that treating myths and symbols alone in the field of interpretation is inadequate. The crucial issue which emerged was the problem of the dual meanings that occur in language. The interpretive process faces the challenge of literal and metaphorical meanings of any given text. Ricoeur deals with this issue in his major work The Rule of Metaphor, in which he explores the phenomenon of semantic innovation in metaphorical discourse. ← 63 | 64 →
When he turned to a theory of metaphorical discourse, Ricoeur noticed that linguists, literary critics and philosophers of language represented different trends in metaphor studies. The linguists emphasised the notion of deviance, in a word-oriented metaphorical theory that ultimately belongs to the domain...
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