2019-04Thematic Section
The Performative Aspects of Metaphor: The Metaphorization of Silence between Intentionality and Conventionality


Metaphor, as is known, has been considered an expression of the creative approach of a subject to language and thinking. Metaphor enables the subject of cognition and action to establish meaning – the subject exercises semiosis not only by referring to the former convention and the situational context, but also by transforming it due to the distinct act of turning the metaphor into an instrument of  expression. The innovative character of metaphor allows one to consider it in the context of performative theory, whereas its receptive, evocative character requires interpretation from the recipient. In both cases, metaphor in acts of communication, opens their participants towards specific expressions – performative expression in the case of individual semantic innovation, and receptive expression in the case of the interpretation of former metaphors. The specific example of silence, considered as a kind of metaphor within the frameworks of the performative theory, is the subject-matter of the paper. The basic question of the paper, referring to John L. Austin’s speech act theory and to his followers, is related to the source of the aforementioned metaphorization – to what degree is it an intention of language users, and to what degree is it a language convention which allows one to combine words and establish new associations metaphorically? In his pragmatic concept of meaning, Austin stresses the role of the context of an utterance – the situational context may also enable the establishment of metaphor as a figure of speech that dynamizes and moves our thinking.


metaphor, silence, performative theory, intention, convention, normativeness

How to cite:

Gołębiewska, Maria. “The Performative Aspects of Metaphor: The Metaphorization of Silence between Intentionality and Conventionality.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 3, no. 4(10) (2019): 5-20. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2019.0038.


Maria Gołębiewska
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences
72 Nowy Świat Street, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland


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