Publication details [#11163]

Voth, Ben. 1998. A case study in metaphor as argument: A longitudinal analysis of the wall separating Church and state. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies 34 : 127–139. 13 pp. URL
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Something there is that doesn't love a wall.... Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offense Something there is that doesn't love a wall That wants it down.... He will not go behind his father's saying, And he likes having thought of it so well He says again, Good fences make good neighbors. (Frost 47-8) Thus, history has made the wall of separation [between church and state] real. The wall is not just a metaphor. It has constitutional existence... Despite its detractors and despite its leaks, cracks, and its archways, the wall ranks as one of the mightiest monuments of constitutional government in this nation. Robert Frost notwithstanding, something there is that loves a wall. (Levy 250) James Boyd White takes the field of law around the rhetorical turn when he observes: To conceive of the law as a rhetorical and social system, as a way in which we use an inherited language to talk to each other and to maintain a community, suggests in a new way that the heart of law is what we always knew it was: the open hearing in which one point of view, one construction of language and reality, is tested against another. (104) White's 1987 work, Heracles' Bow, emphasizes the intrinsically rhetorical and argumentative nature of law. The work offers a wide field of texts for review under the rhetorical perspective with an emphasis on deriving the manner by which language is "inherited" and "contributes" to the maintenance of a community. A subset of this broad agenda remains relatively obscure in argument and rhetorical studies: the importance of metaphor in legal argument. Haig Bosmajian makes some of the most significant forays into this realm without offering much insight into the inheritance of language noted by White. Within the academic study of argument, a well established literature exists suggesting that metaphors function in the role of argument (Ivie, "The Metaphor"; Parson and Kauffman; Lakoff and Johnson; Osborne; Richards; Ricoeur; Sontag; Bosmajian; Grassi; Jordan; Leff). Critiques of metaphors as paradigmatic blinders are increasingly common in the communication literature (Ivie, "Images," "Speaking"; Kauffman and Parson; Lakoff and Johnson; Osborne). (From the introduction)