30 November 2007

My love is a fever

More from the Journal of Metaphor and Symbol 1 (1), “From the Marble Mass of Language, A View of the Developing Mind” by David S. Palermo:
A metaphor differs from a literal statement, at least in part, because a comparable literal statement may be judged in terms of its truth, whereas a metaphor engenders a judgment about a new meaning. Thus, if someone says, "The zebra is a horse," the listener is likely to say, "No, that is not true"; that is, such a statement is treated as a literal sentence and is responded to in terms of its truth value. If Shakespeare, however, writes, "My love is a fever," the reader does not respond in terms of truth but in terms of generating the meaning Shakespeare was attempting to convey. If we think of metaphor as the creation of a new meaning from the merging of two conventionally unrelated meanings, we can begin to ask questions about the nature of the emergent meaning in terms of the constraints imposed by the unrelated meanings, the context in which the metaphor is created, the developmental characteristics of the person creating or comprehending the meaning, and, most important, the characteristics of the abstract dimensions and generative rules used to achieve the meaning.