Volume 11, Issue 1, Enero 1996
Metaphor in Social Science
It is widely acknowledged that scientific discourse is full of metaphors. Does this undermine the commitment of such a discourse to truth and objective knowledge? Does this mean that the scientist (any scientist) is, after all, only a ‘rhetorician in disguise’?
In what follows I will try to argue for quite the opposite view. I will show that metaphor is not simply a rhetorical device -at least, in the derogatory sense of rhetoric. There are metaphors which can be used to increment our knowledge, and to explore new conceptual domains. This appears to be the case not only for natural science, but also for the so-called ‘sciences of the social’.