Argumentation as a Bridge Between Metaphor and Reasoning

Francesca Ervas, Elisabetta Gola, Maria Grazia Rossi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


The aim of this chapter is to explore the relationship between metaphor and reasoning, by claiming that argumentation might act as a bridge between metaphor and reasoning. Firstly, the chapter introduces metaphor as a framing strategy through which some relevant properties of a (generally more concrete and known) source domain are selected to understand a (generally less concrete and known) target domain. The mapping of properties from the source to the target domain implicitly forces the interpreter to consider the target from a specific perspective. Secondly, the chapter presents metaphor as an implicit argument where some inferences can be drawn from the comparison between the source and the target domain. In particular, this chapter aims to understand whether and to what extent such an argument might be linked to analogical reasoning. The chapter argues that, in case of faulty analogy, this kind of argument might have the form of a quaternio terminorum, where metaphor is the middle term. Finally, the chapter presents the results of an experimental study, aiming to test the effect of the linguistic nature of the middle term on the detection of such faulty analogy. The chapter concludes that a wider context is needed to make sense of an analogical argument with novel metaphors, whilst in a narrow context, a lexicalised metaphor might be extended and the overall argument might be interpreted as metaphoric.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArgumentation and Language
Subtitle of host publicationLinguistic, Cognitive and Discursive Explorations
EditorsSteve Oswald, Thierry Herman, Jérôme Jacquin
Place of PublicationGewerbestrasse
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-73972-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-73971-7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2018

Publication series

NameArgumentation and Language — Linguistic, Cognitive and Discursive Explorations
ISSN (Print)1566-7650
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1907


  • Metaphor
  • Analogical reasoning
  • Fallacy of equivocation
  • Framing
  • Lexical ambiguity


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