Metaphors, Narratives, Emotions

Their Interplay and Impact


This book argues that there is a complex logical and epistemological interplay between the concepts of metaphor, narrative, and emotions. They share a number of important similarities and connections. In the first place, all three are constituted by aspect-seeing, the seeing-as or perception of Gestalts. Secondly, all three are meaning-endowing devices, helping us to furnish our world with meaning. Thirdly, the threesome constitutes a trinity. Emotions have both a narrative and metaphoric structure, and we can analyse the concepts of metaphors and narratives partly in each other’s terms. Further, the concept of narratives can partly be analysed in the terms of emotions. And if emotions have both a narrative structure and a metaphoric one, then the concept of emotions must to some extent be analysable through the concepts of narratives and metaphors. But there is more. Metaphors (especially poetic ones) are important tools for the understanding of the tacit sides of emotions, perhaps because of the metaphoric structure of emotions. The notion that narrations can be tools for understanding emotions follows from two facts: narrations are devices for explanation and emotions have a narrative structure. Fourthly, the threesome has an impact on our rationality. It has become commonplace to say that emotions have a cognitive content, that narratives have an explanatory function, and that metaphors can perform cognitive functions. This book is the first attempt to articulate the implications that these new ways of seeing the three concepts entail for our concept of reason. The cognitive roles of the threesome suggest a richer notion of rationality than has traditionally been held, a rationality enlivened with metaphoric, narrative, and emotive qualities.
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Biographical Note

Stefán Snævarr (Reykjavik, 1953) studied philosophy and related subjects in Norway and Germany. Professor at Lillehammer University College in Norway, he is the author of several books of various kind in English, Norwegian and Icelandic.

Table of contents

Foreword and Acknowledgements Introduction: A Book of Mosaic Metaphors and Masks The Rule of Narratives The Poetic of Emotions Conclusion of the Book or the (Un)holy Trinity Bibliography Index