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Metaphors, Narratives, Emotions

Their Interplay and Impact


Stefán Snævarr

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.

Vasily Sesemann

Experience, Formalism, and the Question of Being


Thorsten Botz-Bornstein

Born in Vyborg in 1884 by parents of German descent, Vasily (Wilhelm) Sesemann grew up and studied in St. Petersburg. A close friend of Viktor Zhirmunsky and Lev P. Karsavin, Sesemann taught from the early 1920s until his death in 1963 at the universities of Kaunas and Vilnius in Lithuania (interrupted only by his internment in a Siberian labor camp from 1950 to 1956).
Botz-Bornstein’s study takes up Sesemann’s idea of experience as a dynamic, constantly self-reflective, ungraspable phenomenon that cannot be objectified. Through various studies, the author shows how Sesemann develops an outstanding idea of experience by reflecting it against empathy, Erkenntnistheorie (theory of knowledge), Formalism, Neo-Kantianism, Freudian psychoanalysis, and Bergson’s philosophy. Sesemann’s thought establishes a link between Formalist thoughts about dynamics and a concept of Being reminiscent of Heidegger.
The book contains also translations of two essays by Sesemann as well as of an essay by Karsavin.