Metaphors in medical texts


This book claims that metaphors must be seen as indispensable cognitive and communicative instruments in medical science. Analysis of texts taken from recently published medical handbooks reveals what kind of metaphors are used to structure certain medical concepts and what the functions are of the metaphorical expressions in the texts. Special attention is drawn to the idea that scientific facts do not originate from passive observation of reality. Imaginative thinking and the use of metaphors are required to make the unknown accessible to us. Yet, although metaphors are often a sine qua non for the genesis of a scientific fact, they may also inhibit the development of alternative views. This is due to the fact that metaphors always highlight certain aspects of a phenomenon while other aspects remain obscured. Analysis of the metaphors used in medical texts may reveal exactly which aspects are highlighted and which remain hidden and may thus help to find alternative metaphors (and possibly therapies) when current metaphors are no longer adequate. This book should be of interest not only to linguists, translators and researchers working in the field of intercultural communication, but also to doctors and medical scientists, and those interested in the philosophy of science.

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PREFACE. INTRODUCTION. Chapter 1: THEORIES OF METAPHOR. 1.1. I. A. Richards. 1.2. Max Black. 1.3. Lakoff and Johnson. Chapter 2: METAPHOR AND SCIENCE. 2.1. Scientific theories and facts. 2.2. How new scientific facts arise. 2.3. Some further characteristics of thought collectives. 2.4. Fleck's model of three components. Chapter 3: ANALYSIS OF METAPHORS. 3.1. Identifying metaphors. 3.2. Dead and live metaphors. 3.3. Kittay and Lehrer's theory of semantic fields. Chapter 4: METAPHORS AND MEDICAL CONCEPTS. 4.1. Introduction. 4.2. Human beings. 4.3. Society. 4.4. Colonization and invasion. 4.5. Defence and attack. 4.6. Text. 4.7. Machine and mechanism. 4.8. Agents. 4.9. Steps and stages. 4.10. Seeds. 4.11. Some isolated metaphors. 4.12. Summary. Chapter 5: METAPHORS AND MEDICAL THEORIES. 5.1. Introduction. 5.2. TUMOUR CELLS ARE HUMAN BEINGS. 5.3. TUMOUR CELLS INVADE AND COLONIZE. 5.4. CANCER IS WAR. 5.5. A GENOME IS A TEXT. 5.6. A CELL IS A MACHINE. 5.7. CAUSATIVE AGENTS. 5.8. CARCINOGENESIS AND METASTASIS CONSIST OF SEVERAL STEPS. 5.9. TUMOUR METASTASES ARE SEEDS SOWN FROM THE PRIMARY TUMOUR. 5.10. Theories represented by isolated metaphors. 5.11. Highlighting and hiding. 5.12. Interactions between medical science and society. 5.13. Conclusions. Chapter 6: THE FUNCTIONS OF METAPHORICAL EXPRESSIONS IN MEDICAL TEXTS. 6.1. Catachretic metaphors. 6.2. Didactic metaphors. 6.3. Theory constitutive metaphors. 6.4. Changing functions of metaphors. 6.5. Metaphors provide a vocabulary. 6.6. Conclusions. CONCLUSIONS. BIBLIOGRAPHY. Appendix A: Bibliography of medical texts. Appendix B: Examples of metaphorical expressions found in medical texts. Index.