Publication details [#2746]

Bosmajian, Haig A. 1992. Metaphor and Reason in Judicial Opinions. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University Press. xiv, 240 pp.
Publication type
Book – monograph
Publication language


Bosmajian's main point, which he makes in the Introduction, is that tropes are not merely persuasive devices but are dignified by usage until they become themselves laws: "At all judicial levels, metaphors, metonymies, personifications, and other tropes appearing in court opinions have attained permanence, have become institutionalized and relied upon as principles, standards, doctrines, and premises in arriving at judicial judgments." What Bosmajian is observing is how judicial conservatism, reflected in the legal doctrine of stare decisis (let the decision stand), gives reverence to the past in the misguided belief that this doctrine lends universality and predictability to a court's decisions. If the earlier court has had the wisdom or good fortune to express its decision in a memorable metaphor or other figuration, it is much more likely that its decision will indeed be allowed to stand and over time acquire the cachet of a doctrine; (Fredric G. Gale)