This article examines Gadamcr's claim thar language is fundamentally metaphorical from the perspective ul' Ricneur's compl rneutary analvsis of metaphor, I argue th~1 Gadamer's claim can only be understood ill relation to a broader understanding or metaphor in whi h metaphor is not regarded as secondary to literal III .aning. From this context 01.11: is b 'ncr able l und .... rsiand the connection adarner makes b tween language and ontology, which is found in his statement "Being lh~l can iJ· understood is Ianguage."

In Truth and MplllOd Gadamer maintains that "Being that can be understood is languagu.'" We can only grasp the precise meaning or this statement, though if we take account of what Gadamer calls the "fundamental metaphoricity of language" (TN!, 431). In this regard, it is interesting to note that \<\feinsheimel' sees a link between Gadamcr and Paul Ricoeur on the i sue of metaphor but does not work out the precise conn ction.? In thi article, I \ ant to usc Ricocur' theory or metaphor" as away of coming [0 term. with Gadamer' undeveloped claim that language is fundamentally metaphorical.

In its phenomenological orientation, hermeneutic language is a Ianguage in whi h a matter of concern (eiTie SadJe) i illuminated with words that are taken Irorn the mauer itself about whi h this language is speaking. Hcidegger all' -ady emphasized this at the beginning of BeiNg (l.1ul Time: 'In discourse, so far as il is genuine, trha! is said is drawn .from what the talk i. about.?" Gadamcr designates this Iva)' in \ hieh the matter itself is grasped in words a' (11(' .pc .ulativc stru - turc of languag . - h - matter ~p ken or 'reflects" itself in the words that arc spoken. A speculative, language iJ.; not a reproduction of an already given meaning, bUL a loming to language of the rnatter itself. In efreet, thinking in language undergoe: a cI ing on behalf or the

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matter itself. 'This activity of the thing itself is the real speculative movement that takes hold of the speaker" (TII4, 474). Now thi speculative movement of language, which show' its If in poetry a well a conv rsaiion, is connected" ith the metaphori al structure of language. How this is so remains to be seen.

The ontological [uestion with regard to metaphor \' as already important [or Aristotle. A 'cording to Aristotle, metaphor i the transf renee ( "berli'agung) of the name of one thing to another thintF (M"V 23). In the expression "Uarl is a hal' ," the word hare" is applied and transferred to something other than the usual namely to .ad. But the concentration on the naming word determined th position and the destiny of metaphor for centuries. Metaphor gets isolated in a word, Opposed to this under. tanding i lor example, Nictzs h s position which tends to ascribe a metaphorical effect 'to the whole of language. Amon the theoreticians of metaphor there are also tho 'e who have pointed out the fact that there i orrrething workinz metaphorically at eery strat gic level of language: words, texts styles, and spec hes, This marks a distinction between a nan wer and a broader perspective on m taphor. VVith hi tatement about the fundamental m taphori - ity of language, Gadamer belongs LO those who have a broader pcrspective on metaphor.

But isiotlc at. 0 did not r main stu k in the narrow determina-

tion or metaphor. . ri totle saw the dynamic of (hanging meaning and signification that comes into being in the use of metaphor (j\ltr-~ 24). He understood m raph I' with on ept that refer to movement; metaphor mean transferen and thus is taken up in a tradition that mov from one to the other. According LO Aristotle, being able to metaphorize \. ell, thus being able to translat and trail ,fer well, is possiblc when on is good <It seeing the sirnilariti . be tween several things. Metaphorizing is a language occurrence that has irs root in the perception of the similar in the distinct (TiM, +31). The 1I e of metaphor is thus a way of eeing how som thing- is. Language is there to pronounce what a tually is, and it is in this that metaphor also ha. its significance, Being is itself changing and moving' it is particularly dynamic where it is histori al. Con ider d in Aristot Iian terms it . precisely metaphor that has the special ruological fun lion of ihowing being as act; it show b ·ing a. €VEPY<.lC1.. The dormant potential DC beings awake in metaphor.

That metaphorical peech deviate from ih customary use of language I emphasized in U1C WllTOW concept of metaphor, however.



This narrow concept has contributed to the fact that one began to speak of authentic and inauthentic word u. e. The inauthentic meaning f a word wa supposedly fully replaceable with the authentic meaning. The expression "Carl is a hare" call be replaced with "Carl is quick." This would s em to mean that we always have an authentic word whenever we use a metaphor. Such thinking in terms of substitution gives the impression that metaphor is an unnecessary and merely decorative stylistic figure one that conveys no new informarion and is on.1y used for the sake of beauty.

This understanding of metaphor is determined by an understanding of language that maintain the possibility of an id al language that would be in a position to say everything in a fully unequivocal way. It is thus no accident that Gadam r chose poli e interrogation as an example of a non-genuine and unsiruated language. What is completely transparent and understood is without every dynamic and dialogue. This. is not Cadamer's authentic understanding of language or of metaphor, and on also [ails to find this insight in Aristotle. Aristotle is interested in the power of the poetic expression. It is precisely with Aristotle that one can ask whether metaphor might not belong at the heart of language and its 0 currence, Metaphor, in other words, is 110t a matter of adornment, but installs a new order; in effect it is the discovery of meaning. One might thus wonder wh ther metaphorizing i not perhaps the basis of all talking and speaking, since the beings grasped in words reflect themselves in metaphor. This is what Gadamer calls the "fundamental metaphoriciry of language": "to regard the metaphorical use of a word as not its real Sense is the prejudice of a theory of logic that is alien to language" (TlII1, 429). With this short statement Gadamer rejects the narrow PCI pective on metaphor.

Particularly in the period after Aristotle, classical rhetoric lost sight of the ontological power of metaphor. According to classical rhetoric, metaphor is an imaginative expression in which there is alway a lit-

ral meaning. This literal meaning is the rendering of reality .• uch an insight is determined by an epistemological presupposition in which the unconditioned and unequivocal knowledge of reality is seen as the ideal. According 10 this traditional interpretation the development or metaphor presents a deviation from. the literal meaning of a word or a statement. This deviation is possible because the second, metaphori 211 expression would be replaceable by the literal expression that !:,'1'aSpS reality in words .. The replaceability makes the second expression entirely superfluous. The similarity of the metaphorical expression with the


literal expression-and I shall have more to say about this irnilariry+justifies the replacement. According to traditional rhetoric, th replaced word yields no new meaning. This is why one ould also translate (l"ibersr;tz(m) a metaphor, i.e., repla e the pi .torial and figurative expression with the literal expression, In this traditional understanding of metaphor the m taphor produces nothing new and we learn nothing 11 w about the matter grasped i.n words which presum s that the matter remain ever unchangeable. Metaphor i. merely an adornment or speech and has only an emotional function .. In the narrow theory, metaphor is only a figllre of speech in which a word is exchanged without reality itself being hanged. Metaphor is seen as merely an embellishment of language. I'h point of departure is the primacy of the word; th point of arriv al is the metaphor as decorative element of language and thus something unimportant for anyone who has <mything to say (NIT!, 64).

ln Gadamer s c ncept, however, it is presupposed that the metaphor brinzs together twO horizons r fields f meaning that are repres ntcd in one sentenc by two words. Metaphors are thus judgments Or statements in which there results a change in meaning of one of the two words. "Cad is a hare'r+-in the judgment 'hare" refers not to the little animal, hut to the nimble ,arlo Here an unfamiliar \. ord is tran - lat d to a familiar object. It i pre isely becaus the elem ot 'Carl" is familiar and well known that thc unfamiliar predicate stemming fr m another tradition or horizon of meaning is understandable. This provides a point of a cess to another meaning context for Carl. If the In aning of the words were flJ ed in definitions this kind of transition would not be possible. In a non-metaphorical world, the world of Carl and the world of the hare are ntirely incompatible. But in the metaphor, the two contexts-the cont xt of the har and the context of Carlare united. Thi makes possible a relation between both worlds a relation in which th world of the hal" is capable of revealing .ertain aspects of arl, Metaphors thLLS connect with perspecti cs and insights with which we encounter life situations. In view of the ordering properties of metaphors] it is under .tandable (hal they are present in large numbers in a language used by indivi luals eeking meaning. Metaphors play a particular role where a new per pecti e is called forth. One imag has diffe rent consequences for action than an other image. This is becalm: metaphors are not merely decorationwithin a discourse but become motives for acting. In this way metaphors help to give meaning to our a ting in th wodd.



As previously noted, we arc interested in drawing "reality' into the meaning of metaphor. One must account for a emanti renewal, sine this i how something can b aiel about what is. In the stru urrali l theory inspired by Saussure, reality plays no role as reference. The

tructuralist position says that discourse points LO itself and has no referential meaning. However the in .ight, correct in principle, that poetry and metaphor detach us [rom reality doe Hot mean thar every referenc co reality eases, It can also mean that we detach urselves frorn ali everyday frame of reference in order to track down another dimension of reality. The metaphorical use of a word uses the word in such a way thatit is no longer "at home" (PH, 71).

V hat is the meaning of this detaching from the v ryday frame of reference with which one is familiar and feels at home and " ell acquainted? To respond to this question, one should know that in speaking the interlocutors' horizon of understanding is also important. The statement "Carl is a butcher"cao be understood by 'om eon as a description. But one first sees or h al" what i spe ial ab ur this

tatcment as metaphorical statement wh none knows that ad is a surgeoll. This means Ulal the interlocutors must, 1:0 <1 certain extern, be familiar with what is spoken about if the fusing together of horizon' of under tanding in m taphor is La be a hieved, One mu t, accordingJ , know what or who Carl is. III the horizon of under. tanding of the person spoken to the world of Carl as surgeon must be united with the world of the butcher, and yet remain distinct D"Om this. Something i transferred from one horizon of understanding to aneth cr. The metaphorical speech event can onl be carried out wh 11 one know what a butcher is and who Carl is, For the most pan, one need not explain what a butcher is; and Car! must already be known as a 'urgeon if UIC statement that Carl is a butcher is to be understandable and meaningful as metaphor.

This mear that if on wish s to speak metaph irically, there must be a certain Iarniliariry with a traditionally iran mitred linguistic -pa and body of thought. In this respect metaphors presuppose a wellknown bod)' of thought transmitted through the tradition in which one feels at home. Thus metaphors always prcsuppo e one or m re wellknown and familiar horizons of understanding that are alled up in memory when words are combined in such a way as to stare something new, The novelty effected in the metaphor means that it on the one hand retriev s a tradition already told about and on the other


hand pla . s this tradition in another light. In relation to whatis addressed rnetaph rs ar rhus al 0 alway something like laye rings of different (olel and new) traditions. III metaphor the carrying out of hi tory is .0 present that an old and well-known horizon of understanding-the '0- called literal horizon+-appears in a new light. The object indi .ated rnetaphori ally loses its old meaning and appears in a new lighr.

This signifie that a withdrawal of th ref rential fun cion as su h is to be brought in line with an ontological understanding f m taphorical language u, ()I.1li: 187), In the mctaphori al stat ment "Carl is a butch r," a' predi 'ate is attributed and the copula "is" is used. In the cas' of rn ctaph r, this usage is, viewed logically-or when one is situated 'monologi aUy' in the tradition-illegitimate, becau e the is i at the sam tim not. One can only understand that the predicate is not illcgitirnat if one pays attention to the reference. The being of the copula is not only logical, but it makes a claim on reality: the m taphor 'a s what is. he question i now why must we p ak metaph ri all to be able to . ay wbat i ? Or, what are b eings uch that we must or can speak. about them metaphorically?

~ (il1'ing . 'rmtething 'As

It i known that in hermeneuti s a matter of con 'em i always understood 'as' this or 'as' that (BY, l49). Oadamer was aware of this as'; he even writes that in this 'as' lies the whole riddle (PH 86).·; This 'as' points to the horizon from which the matter is understood or een. Thi. mean that a matter is always under. tood and interpret d in a particular way. In herrn neutic language, which is the interpreting language, a matrer is not only under toad 'as but al 0 seen 'a~'; a maner ja visible 'as'. It would be going LOO far LO connect this to \i\/iltgenstein's seeing-as' although it 'cern' clear to me that a connection is possible."

This 'seeing-as' makes clear what happen in the use of metaphors, The seeing-as shows an asp ct of the matter spoken of and this aspect is grasped in words with a figurative word. The figurative effect of metaphor c .ur precisely wh TC, between two term that apparently ha e nothing to do with ne another a certain similarity and kin 'hip is se n (TM 431). Aristotle already referred La the fact that metaphorizing well is a matter being able to sec well, It is a question of s eing the similar. Y t since tbi. similarity is seen, it i. a question of 'enSllOll'



intuition. The problem nov is that this. imilarity is something that lies outside of language in perception and th image of our perception. However this gap betw cn language and perception may be do ed by the indication thar imagination is not in the first plac an effect of the senses or of the images of our perception, but is rather something that come to, ppear from out of' til m anings of our language.' Imagination must in the fir t place be understood as a dimension of our language," The hermeneutic power of metaphor comes from the

reative ability of the imagination. It is th potential to transform existLng meanings into new meanings.

'N'hen one understands imagination as a meaning production that comes from language, one implicitly rejects a vi ual and nsuou imagination with which one could imaginewhar i perc ivcd visually. he proper creativity of imagination is sought instead in language. If images are pronoun .ed and grasp d .in language and in word, before I hey are even s en, then they can no long r be underst od as are. ult of perception, as an empiricist like Hume is inclined to assert (MV, 382).

bout thi. Gadamer writes: "Pure eeing ruld pure hearing are dogmati ab traction that artificially r ducc phenom na, Perception always includes meaning' (TN!, 92). The productive ability of imagination is in the-first pla e a linguistic ability. In the process of metaphor, we

ee how the imagination connects two ·cmantic fields by determining omething untcnabl as predicate on a literal level a something that is tenable as predicate on a new and different level." The poet is the languag artist wh by mean of language 1 ts images come into being and fus into one another.

This is also what Gadamer means: 'The poetic ratement is speculative inasmuch a it d e nor refle t an exist nt reality, does not reproduce the appearan e of th spe ie in the order of cnce; but represents the new appearance of a new world in (he imaginary medium or poetic invention" (7 1. 470), Pro ceding from Aristotle's determination of metaphor in th Poetics (J 45 a8) a ih eeing of the similar, ware concerned with the fact that what is intended here i not similarity between ideas already similar, but instead similarity of meaning-field' h .rer fore considered dissimilar. The re 'ognidoll of die similar come to light out of the unifi arion oftwo different meanings that produce a new meaning. Th imazination is the ability to re oncile oppo d meaning b forging a new emantic content. In thi wa the imagination is an understanding-as; a being i understood in the COI1-

cpts of another being. For example, We unci rstand old age 'as' the


autumn I life time 'a ' healer, Carl 'a ' hal' . The productiv ability of language and of imagination are connected to n another. New meanings corning to appearance must b pronounced in me form of new verbally apprehended images.

Seeing-as is the sensuous clement of poetic imagining. In the w rd of the In taphor, a sel ction of th possibl meanings Ior the images of beings takes place. nderstanding-a I· cts the sensuou mass f images from out of a sernanti order. Under tanding-a' is at the same t.ime a reference to the meaningful word. The metaphor plays at the same time the role of the Kantian s hema which unites the empty can ept with the blind impression. The concept as such is mpty, and experien as uch is blind. Therefore we can say that t11 imag is 1 d and illuminated by the word and only thus has meaning. In this way the verbal and nonverbal are united at the heart of the imaginary function of language (A/V, 270).

Imagination can accordingly be understood as the activity by .. vhich in aying am ething in a new way, new meanings come into being and realitie ar brought to light. The poetic imagination thus has implications for the wh Ie mechanism of lallguag(MV, 272). Poetic imagination creates a pace for pos ibilitie by shifting refer nee to a parti ular perspective m beings and simultaneously by suggesting a new perspective on beings. In this respect the imaginati n also open up the space for a new way of being-in-the-world,

The renewal of meaning that is specific to imagination is therefore, at irs deepest, an ontolozical o currence. Th Iingui "tic imagination's ability for renewal is not a decorative ex ~ of ubje tiviry, but the ability of languag to op ']1 up new world. The function of imagination within poetry can be understood as the laying open of possible worlds that go beyond U1e limits of the a tual world. Imagination makes it pas ible to transform the everyday and familiar meaning into n 'wand possible perspecti es, a transformati n in which the literal and· mpirical world is trans ended. By the process of metaphorizing in languagev rhe beings about which something is suggested by an author and his text appear in a new light, An und rrstanding of the possible world revealed by the poetic imagination also mak s possible a new und rstanding of our elves as b ing-in-the-world.

However, the significance of imagination in hermeneutics is not restricted to the province of interpretation. In projecting new worlds the imagination gi es us projects for acting. The metaphors, mbols and narrativ . produce d by U1C imagination give us imaginary variation



of th world. They thus make it pos ible for U$ to present the w rid in another way and to perform actions that change the world. The renewal of meaning can accordingly lead La social change because the possible world of imagination Call be realized in action.

NfetapllOr and Being

H rrneneutics i. oriented to the text and t the referen e LO a world that i in the text. s long as all' remains on the semantic I vel on remain: within the ensemble of meaning-relati ns pre III d b the text. It is nonetheless important to ask about that with which a text is dealing, tJJ3t to which a text or an xpr sion i referring. This onnection b tween text and world has, in the case of a literary work its specific set of problems' it is precisely in a literary 'Nark that the relation ] 'tween meaning and reference is suspended. Yet even for the literary work, it i a matter of protecting refer nee (MJi, 2i8). This is designated as 'metaphorical truth' (MV 310).

The metaphorical renewal of m .aning must be sought where distin tions in til m aning-horizon arc dimini ihed and a rappro ihemem lake place. Metaphor is fir r po ibl from the r ciprocal approaching of two initially irr can ilabl world of meaning. Metaphori al expression is about a kinship becoming visible wh re the usual and literal reading and hearing could not discern any r ciprocal cortesponden e. It is thus, at the same time, a rnauer of an int ntional error wi.th respect to the lit ral, But this is what allows for recognizing a meaning-relation n01 PI' viou ly di covered. Wh n th author speaks of tim a heal r, h t eaches U' how to see time as healer. The effe I r ih orre. ponden e j r bring cia to one another what previously lay far apart from one another are brought close to one another.

There em rges from this ph nornenon of proximity and eli tan an opposition to the traditional narrow understanding of metaphor. For 'lJ1C latter, metaphor was a mere changing, a substitution. In th kinship process describ d here ther is a tension between similarity and difference through which there emerges a different and new insight intothe objc t. In expression, such as 'words like flowers" and "land of the rising sun" ther are alway new relations between old familiar clements that 1 t S m thing new be seen and make it visible. This means that metaphor om s our of the relationship of imilariry and dis imilarity between the elcm ents f th metaphori al statement; t11 re i no mel' substitution. be upposed irreconcilability or these


previous Iiteral worlds of meaning would lea:d to jhe realization that a new relation is not possible and must be considered unrneaningful.

However, the metaphorical atatemenr encounters its limit in the impossibility of translating between certain horizons and in the irnpossibiliry of tolerating the absurdity that can result when certain horizons of understanding are combined. But here we see on e again the connection of metaphor to the tradition. The metaphorical translalion-this much is clear-is only noticed when it is recognized by the reader or hearer. The tradition determines what may be tran lated, and this encounters its limits in tradition. "This means, however that we are not even able to recognize certain things that are true because without our knowing it, we are restricted by presuppositions.' 111

Th transferal iseffective only when the reader or hearer is capable of recognizing it. .. For this it is necessary that he or she be familiar with that which is said within a tradition about something or someone; otherwise, he or she will not understand anything. In order to understand an allusion to Aristotle one must knOVII Aristotle's work. In order to read Umberto Ecc's TIle Name of the Rose one must be Iamiliar with the theological and philosophical tractates of the Middl Ages. It is thus necessary to be Iamiliar withtbe tradition without at the same time according with it in a one-dimensional way. The play on words that Peter is a butcher cannot be understood as transferred when one does not know that Peter is a surgeon. \tVhen one does not know' the tradition, one is not capable of grasping the change in meaning, This means that the reader mustbdongto a. traditional language in order to understand what is transferred. Here Gadamer points to the phenomenon. of belonging. It is "the element of tradition in our histcrical-herrneneutical activity through the commonality of fundamental, enabling prejudices. Hermeneutics Il.1US't start from the position that a person seeking to understand something has a bond to the subject matter that comes into language through [he traditionarytexr and has, or acquires, <it connection with the tradition from which the text speaks. On the other hand, hermeneutical consciousness is aware that its bond to this subject matter does not consist ill some self-evident, Llnq uestioned unanimity, as is the case with the unbroken stream or tradition, Hermeneutic work is based on a polarity of familiarity and strangeness, ... It is in rhe play betw .cn the traditionary text's strangeness and familiarity to us, 'between bing a historically intended distanciated object and belonging to a tradition. 7JU! true !Ol'US qf hermeneuties is this .,,n-betw&1n' (TNI, 295).



Metaphorical. speech maintains itself precisely in this tension between familiarity and foreignness. It transforms the tradition in the process of transf rring or translation. combination of words, meaningless when seen from the standpoint of the literal and familiar, transforms itself into a meaningful combination." The consequence is that metaphor is no longer considered an em belli hmcnt of speech but rather a bearer of new information. Metaphor is an unusual application of a familiar label to an other being. The label has its own past and is, in conjunction with its past, coon cted to an oth r being that protesringly gi\ es in. \,Vh Jl metaphor refers in this way, there is metaphorical truth, \ hen the poet says that nature is a temple the verb to be refers not only to th meaning-relation internal to this statement. The being spoken about is it elf described in a new way. "1 he statem nt says that it is s1.1ch (MV; 311). The seeing-as and the understanding-as discus ed above correspond to a being-as. Being rnanife ts itself as a being-as. Bing always manifests itself in aspect. For this r ason this as I elonzs to being it elf and concerns the being of beings. v\le may accordingly speak of a metaphorical truth.

Within this metaphoric und rstanding of language, Gadamer ays: " 'he poetic statem nt as such is speculative, in that the verbal event of rhe poetic word expressesits OWI1 relationship to being' (T.M, 470). How d e this relationship to bei.ng look? If thi. is saying that we sec being differently through metaphor or metaphorical language u e, what i the relation between metaphor and being? With regard Lo this question on must I eak of a re f reo 'e for metaphor." It is a question of a reference that is not immediately a cessibl to mpirical description. The understanding-as, made possible through 111 taphor reveals, at the ontological level a being-as.

The metaphorical imagination connects not only the verbal and nonverbal; it also produces a new meaning when it confronts a. literal meaning with a figurative meaning. This confronting character of metaphor is cleare t wher one still hem's the transferring of the metaphor, for example, in the metaphor "time heals," where a literal is not (the r ader knows that time an not reaUy heal) is connected with a metaphorical i . The capacity to transform contradictions into new meanings is obvious in the metaphorical function of understanding a a b. Whi.le 00 a literal level w know that a is not b, we confirm that it is indeed this on an imaginary Ie el (MV 271). In m taphor it is thu not about d scribing what is on hand in an empirical reality, but rather about making visible in a being something that was not previ-


ously s en. This confirms that in m taphor 'we are concerned with a logi of revealing or cone a.ling,

The popm produ es the image; the poetic image is at the a.me time a coming to be of an expression and a corning to be of being, The poem expresses our being by making us into the one it expresses. The metaphorical statement is th us poeti . and creative because a tatement comes into bcing and the be corning of our being is fa hioned in this. Here the expression creal S being ~i\lJV 272). Creating is now seen as rev aling and concealing. B re overing the apa ity of languag to cr ate, W· discover being itself in the pro e s of being reared. Language that om s into being c Iebrate the reality that come into being. I]

Languago is there to pronounce what i , and this i wh re metaphor has its meaning as well. Yet being is itself in movement. and in change. Being is particularly mobile where it is historical, Considered in Ali - totelian terms, it is precisely metaphor that has as its special oruological function the showing of being as act; it shows beings as EVgP'YElO:. In metaphor the dormant potential of beings is-awoken.

In this context we must ref r to the fact that a nominalist und erstandiug of language is n t in a po ition to give a sufli i nt account of the authentic character of particular metaphors (J\lfV, 301), This the- 01 of language CaD only call Ll.pon u.'age and con ention. Metaphors can be well suited, appropriate, and appli able precisely because language is in a position to discover the being of beings and let this appear. Metaphorizing is not only a reorganizatiou of thinking and a reorganization of one's. vision of being- it is also a discovery.

In a sen e, the narrow understanding of language and metaphor that eli tinguishe 5 between literal and metaphorical language is a threat to h rmcncutic speaking. This is because this under-tanding of language and III taphor may give 1'1 e lO the opinion, on the one hand, that hermeneutic speaking must I c lit ral and, on the other hand, that herrnen 'uti speaking may be disrnis eel a mereb' metaphorical, In [he former opinion one. intends his or her hermeneutic speaking 10 refer literally to a (bing; and the latter opinion supposes that hermeneutic speaking deals with nothing and Ts accordingly meaningle ·S. The metaphorical understanding or language in Gadamer' hermeneutics

ceks to get away from thes extremes. A conception of language that does not take into account the "is and is-n t" fall, into rntological natvett 01' fundamentalism, A on eption of language that : es ooly the '1 -not", i.e., that sees only diJfc renee ultimate! d es not knov wh 1 it i talking about. Being is a being-as. This being-a is an e "pres don



of the tension berw en identity and difference' it expresses beings in their different possibilities.

certain conception of truth goes along with the hermeneutic understanding f Janguag . If the authenti meaning of a word is one day understood as the result of a convention, then thi. will also· hange what one mans by truth and untruth. Within the traditional con-

eption of truth the metaphor therefor sp aks untruth because it docs not hold to the usual correspondence, Thi m an , however, that apophantic truth no longer refers to a reality that can be completely circumscribed, Apophantic truth is a correspondence with Wh1Ch one is familiar and feels at home and whi h i thus 'een to be valid. If we continue to hold onto metaphorical meaning over and against literal meaning 'literal" no Ion' r mean a referen e to an authentic or original meaning, but instead to a current or usual meaning. Literal meaning is the meaning de crib d in the dictionary (MV, 369). This implies that the literal meaning does not refer La an authentic reality but is the result of habits and II ag in language. Th literal meanin represents fossilized tradition.

The inquiry into metaphor makes plain that every metaphor no matter how shocking and foreign it may initially appear, becomes 11 habit over time. metaph r may accordingl be located in one of three stages. In till' initial stag it appear inappropriate because one stick. to valid literal, and familiar judging. In th second rage it becomes established and furnish s insight. In the end the metaphor b come a commonplace, a cliche. hes cliches or dead metaphors, with which the dictionary is teeming, arc in turn the basis for th coming to be and rc o~)ll1ition of living metaphors.

\ e draw the following can lusi n from th hermeneutic meaning of metaphor: in the first place, metaphor is much more than a stylistic .figure. It represents a renewal of meaning insofar as in metaphors, new meanings come into being. In this way the m taphor testifies to the creative pow r of language. In the econd place, m taphor is n01 restricted to the creating or meaning in language but also hal a dimen-

ion f d notation and reference. B cau th metaphor creates meaning and sense, it has the capacity 'to represent being. This means that it make new provinces in the experience of being po sibl f r language. Thirdly, metaphor has the potential to open lip a new existence and a new view on life and existen c. Metaphorizin is thus the ability to create meaning in language and in this sense to bring provinces of "'P ri nee and beinn t language. This new perspective on being


makes visible n w possibilities of a being." Gadarner interprets thi not as s In ithing from the interpreting person, but a' an OCCLIlTeD e or the matter, the thing in qu stion. Language is not a replica of a fixed given but 2~ orning to language of [he matter itself about which one is speaking. "Thi . activity of the thing itself is ch real speculative movement that lakes hold [the speaker" (TM, 4,74).


1. Hans C;·eorg Gadamcr, TWill and :\,f~thor/, trans. J()eJWe.lnsheill1er and Donald C.

Marshall, 2111 rev. pd. (London: Shecd & Ward, [969), 47+. lGadamH's ernphasis); hereafter cited as T.H.

:l . .Joel Wcinsheimer, nliloJoplim,l Hermeneutics wid Litem1)' TIul(7)' (New Haven & London:

Yale Univer iry Press, 199 l], 6iUf Hereafter cited )1.5 PH. TIH' insight thai hermeneutic language is metaphorical is also stressed by Jalnt·~ Risser, "Die Mcraphorik des Sorcchens", in Hermeneuusch« Wegl:; Han .. -CelJrg Gadamtr .;:um HWIl1tJ1.\·lcll, ed, G~intt'r Figal, jeau Grondin, und Dennis J Schmidt libingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000). 177-89.

3. Of particular imponanre here .is Paul Ricoeur's book n metaphor, upon which my own analysi relies: Paul Ricoeur La mil{Jphure IJivl! (Paris: f:ditions du Seuil, 1975). Hereafter cited as MV

4. Martin Hcidegge», Bdllg (wI Time; trans. John Macquarrie & Edward Rubinson (Oxford: Basil Blackwell. (962), 56. Hereafter citr-d as BT.

5. Hans-Georg Gadarner, GeSilmmBIJ~ f/l/Erke, bd. 1:1, ASIlrelik und PoeM. (r'libingen:J . B.

Mohr. [99.); 32.

6. Ludwig \Ni.llg~nsleiD, SchrfJllll f (Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1960). 520.

7. Richard Kearny, Ponies 'If linagillillg; hom Hussed /Ir ~'olard (I.olldoll: Harper Collins Academic, 1!191), 13·t 6~1,

8. Paul Ricueur, Hcrmeneusus .and III~ Human Sciences: Es.wJ,J on L"li;~Wlfte. tll'li;)fI and Intfipmlil.ti,lfI' (Cambridge: Carnbri 1ge Univcrslry PI'I'~S, j 98 I), 181.

9. PaL~ Ricoeur, Du Teste ir i'(1C1ioll, Essoi: d'/mrrllellcll/ique 11 (paris: Editions -du Seuil. 1'986), 2 1.8.

'IIJ. Hans-G org Oadarncr, (;esammp[te Werke, bel. 2, Hermeneuti): 1I (Tliningen: J. C. B, Mohr, 1986), :) L

II. Paul Ricoeur, "Stellung und FLTnctiOD der Metapher in der biblischcn Sprachc", in Paul Ricoeur, Eberhard jungcl, Ms/apher: ur Hermeueutik: religiO~·8r .s~)mdlC, end erhell Evangelische Theologi , (Munchen: Kaiser Verlag, 1974). +5.

1.2. Paul Ricoeur, TcmfH rt Ricjt 1 (paris: Editions ell! Seuil, 1983), 13. I :l. Richard Kearn . Poetics if '''lfIgitling, From Husseri 10 1-iJ/oltJyd, 152.

14 .. Paul Ri () \.II', "StelILII1!!; Lind Function del' Mcrapher in der biblischen Sprache", 45.

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