Arquivo para August 3rd, 2021

Metaphor and speculation

03 Aug

There is nothing in philosophical discourse (or in well-structured thinking) that is free from presuppositions.

In the living metaphor, Paul Ricoeur clarifies that this is “for the simple reason that the work of thought by which a region of the thinkable is thematized brings into play operational concepts that cannot, at the same time, be thematized” (Ricoeur, 2005, p. 391).

These postulates are fundamental to understanding discourse, rhetoric and mere speculation.

Paul Ricoeur makes this study around the questions: “Which philosophy is involved in the movement that leads the investigation from rhetoric to semantics and from meaning to reference? “(idem).

It will be in the answer to these questions, and “without reaching the conception suggested by Wittgenstein of a radical heterogeneity of language games” (Ricoeur, 2005, p. 392) it is possible to recognize: “in its principle, the discontinuity that ensures the speculative discourse its autonomy” (idem).

Not explained by Ricoeur, but Edgar Morin talks about two roots of modern discourse that lead speculative discourse to a modern form of obscurantism: the closure in areas of overly specialized knowledge, which he calls hyperspecialization.

Here, metaphor can be confused with mere speculation and philosophy would be “induced by the metaphorical functioning, if it could show that it only reproduces, on the speculative level, the semantic functioning of poetic discourse” (idem).

He clarifies that the touchstone of this misunderstanding is “the Aristotelian doctrine of the analogical unity of the multiple meanings of being, ancestor of the medieval doctrine of the analogy of being” (idem) which we will return to in the next post to understand the metaphysical limitations of Aristotelian ontology.

The second, more fundamental clarification is the categorical discourse, where “there is no transition between poetic metaphor and transcendental equivocality” which is the conjunction between theology and philosophy “in a mixed discourse” that creates confusion between analogy and metaphor” (Ricoeur , 2005, p. 393), and would this imply “a sub-reption, to return a Kantian expression?” (idem), for this reason it is necessary to return to the metaphysical question and in it the ontological question.

He quotes as an epigraph Heidegger’s statement that “the metaphorical only exists within metaphysics”, this is the heart of this work by Ricoeur, and he calls it a “second navigation”, an allusion to Jacques Derridá’s “Mytologie blanche”, passing from living metaphor to dead metaphor.

Ricoeur, P. (2005) Metáfora viva. trad. Dion David Macedo. Brazil, SP: Ed. Loyola.