Edited by Fiona MacArthur, José Luis Oncins-Martínez, Manuel Sánchez-García and Ana María Piquer-Píriz
[Human Cognitive Processing 38] 2012
► pp. 347–372
Chapter 16. Metaphors, snowflakes, and termite nests
How nature creates such beautiful things
Metaphoric language is very much the product of human action, and many scholars now claim that metaphor in language arises from metaphors in thought. But the reasons for why we think metaphorically and speak (gesture) in these ways may be rooted in principles of self-organization that describe the existence, and forms, of many other animate and inanimate things, ranging from snowflakes to termite nests. This chapter describes the benefits of looking at metaphor from a self-organizational point of view, known as dynamical systems theory, and suggests how this perspective can solve several long-standing debates in metaphor scholarship on the variability of metaphors in context and the mental processes by which they are understood.
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