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Metaphor and Symbol

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Metaphor, Linguistic analysis (Linguistics), Symbolism


Both Lakoff and Johnson (1980) and Vervaeke and Kennedy (1996), in their critique of Lakoff and Johnson, drew narrowly from a broad range of reasonable interpretations of the metaphors they analyzed. Expanding the interpretations vitiates many of Vervaeke and Kennedy's criticisms, but it supports their call for an open interpretation of groups of metaphors and points toward a more complex elaboration of the theories put forth by Lakoff and Johnson. The results of applying this approach to "ARGUMENT IS WAR" suggest that war is not necessarily the primary conceptual metaphor for contentious argument, as Lakoff and Johnson claimed. Rather, there is a complex field of contentious interactions, ranging from simple discussions through contests to all-out war: Any and all of these can be and are used as metaphors for the others. When a word or phrase like "defend," "position," "maneuver," or "strategy" is used, there is no a priori way to determine whether the intended meaning is an athletic contest or a game of chess. Similar analyses are applied to other examples from the metaphor literature, and a modification of the basic idea of conceptual mapping is proposed, in which metaphors map cognitive responses onto prototypical situations rather than mapping 1 specific experience or concept onto another.


Copyright © 2003, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Metaphor and Symbol. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Metaphor and Symbol 18:2, pages 125-146.

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