Doubleness in experience: Towards a distributed enactive approach to metaphoricity

Thomas Wiben Jensen, Elena Cuffari

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    A new concept of cognition also implies a novel approach to the study of metaphor. This insight is the starting point of this article presenting two innovations to comprehending and analyzing metaphor, one theoretical and one in terms of methodology. On a theoretical level we argue for a new orientation to metaphor and metaphoricity based on enactive cognition and distributed language and cognition. In recent years enactive and distributed cognition have been developing a new concept of cognition as an inter-bodily and ecologically afforded achievement, and in light of this theoretical development we propose an approach to metaphor as a multi-body, multi-party, and multi-timescale phenomenon. On a methodological level we demonstrate a new way of analyzing metaphoricity in multimodal social interaction based on in-depth video analyses of two real life examples in which we introduce metaphorical identification criteria focusing on doubleness in meaning, affordances for co-action, co-ordination, and co-experience. Here metaphoricity is explored as a distinct and emergent aspect of the coordination processes that constitute social interaction. In the final section we point to the general findings of the analyses and discuss the challenges that conceptual metaphor theory faces in the light of the new tendencies within cognitive science as well as a possible way forward.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMetaphor and Symbol
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)278–297
    Publication statusPublished - 25. Sept 2014


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