Advertisement

Metaphor in Political Theory

  • Frank R. Ankersmit
Chapter

Abstract

Perhaps no field is richer in metaphor than political theory. Plato, who is often seen as the first political philosopher in history, incorporated numerous metaphors in his Republic and in his Laws. No less metaphorical are the books written during the Golden Age of Western political philosophy. Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and so many others all founded the political order on an original contract or covenant entered into by its members. Often they admitted that this contract was a mere historical fiction; but that was of no consequence as long as the ideas of the original contract could function as a metaphor in terms of which the legality of the existing political order could be analyzed. Especially in the political writings of that fierce opponent of metaphor, Thomas Hobbes, 1 metaphors abound. For what is the notion of ‘the body politic’ other than an organicist metaphor exploited as such throughout Hobbes’s work; and is the commonwealth, the State or that ‘artificiall Man’ (another metaphor) that forms the subject of Hobbes’s book really the monster which Job and the Psalmist refer to by the name of Leviathan? Coming to our own age, we are struck by the force of Foucault’s metaphor of ‘the capillaries of power’ and by the Rawlsian metaphor of ‘the veil of ignorance’ behind which our conception of the just society is formed. Most important of all, in these cases even a superficial awareness of the function of these political metaphors forces us to recognize that they do not merely touch the surface but form the essence of the political theories in which they are proposed. Metaphor is no mere ornament or didactic device: the conviction carried by the argument itself depends upon an open or tacit acceptance of the metaphor in question. If metaphor is eliminated the argument of the political philosopher degenerates into a meaningless chaos.2 Metaphor is the heart that pumps the lifeblood of political philosophy.

Keywords

Civil Society Political Power Political Theory Political Reality Slum Area 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Bibliography

  1. Ankersmit, Frank R.: 1983, Narrative Logic, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague.Google Scholar
  2. Ankersmit, Frank R.: 1981, Ten moderne verdediging van het historisme’, Bijdragen en mededelingen betreffende de geschiedenis der Nederlanden 96 453–474.Google Scholar
  3. Ankersmit, Frank R.: 1987, ‘Politieke representatie. Betoog over de esthetische staat’, Bijdragen en mededelingen betreffende de geschiedenis der Nederlanden 102 358–379.Google Scholar
  4. Ankersmit, Frank R.: 1987, ‘Referendum of representatie?’, Namens 2 17–25.Google Scholar
  5. Ankersmit, Frank R.: 1988, ‘Historical Representation’, History and Theory XXVII 205–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ankersmit, Frank R.: 1989, The Reality Effect in the Writing of History,NoordHollandsche, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  7. Ankersmit, Frank R.: (forthcoming), ‘In Search of the Political Object: Stoic and Aesthetic Political Philosophy’.Google Scholar
  8. Annas, Julia: 1981, An Introduction to Plato’s Republic, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  9. Arendt, Hannah: 1965, De revolutie, Het Spectrum, Utrecht.Google Scholar
  10. Aristotle: 1951, Aristotle’s Theory of Poetry and Fine Art,S.H. Butcher (tr.), Dover Publications, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Ball, Terence: 1988, Transforming Political Discourse, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  12. Bambrough, Renford: 1970, Plato’s Political Analogies’, in Peter Laslett (ed.), Philosophy, Politics and Society I, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 98–116.Google Scholar
  13. Barthes, Roland: 1970, L’empire des signes, Flammarion, Paris/Génève.Google Scholar
  14. Bellah, Robert N.: 1957, Tokugawa Religion, Free Press, Glencoe.Google Scholar
  15. Black, Max: 1962, Models and Metaphors, Cornell University Press, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  16. Burke, Kenneth: 1969, A Grammar of Motives, University of California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  17. Connolly, William E.: 1983, The Terms of Political Discourse, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  18. Constant, Benjamin: 1957, Adolphe, Cécile. Le cahier rouge, Gallimard, Paris.Google Scholar
  19. Constant, Benjamin: 1980, De la liberté chez les moderns. écrits politiques, Livre de poche, s.l.Google Scholar
  20. Danto, Arthur C.: 1983, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  21. Derrida, Jacques: 1986, Margins of Philosophy (Alan Bass tr. with additional notes), Harvester Press, Brighton.Google Scholar
  22. Devos, George: 1985, ‘Dimensions of the Self in Japanese Culture’, in Anthony J. Marsella, George Devos and Francis L.K. Hsu (eds.), Culture and Self. Asian and Western Prespectives, Tavistock Publications, London, 141–185.Google Scholar
  23. Doi, Takeo: 1971, The Anatomy of Dependence,Kodansha International, Tokyo and New York.Google Scholar
  24. Doi, Takeo: 1973, ‘Omote and ura’, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 157 258–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Eliot, George: 1976, Middlemarch, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth.Google Scholar
  26. Fairlie, Alison: 1981, Imagination and Language, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  27. Gunnell, John G.: 1983, ‘In Search of the Political Object’in John Nelson (ed.), What Should Political Theory Be Now?,State University of New York Press, Albany, 25–52.Google Scholar
  28. Gunnell, John G.: 1986, Between Philosophy and Politics. The Alienation of Political Theory,University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.Google Scholar
  29. Gunsteren, Herman R. van: 1985, ‘Het leervermogen van de staat’in Marcus A.P. Bovens and Willem J. Witteveen (eds.), Het schip van staat, Tjeenk Willink, Zwolle, 53–75.Google Scholar
  30. Hobbes, Thomas: 1970, Leviathan, Everyman’s Library, London.Google Scholar
  31. Holmes, Stephen: 1984, Benjamin Constant and the Making of Modern Liberalism,Yale University Press, New Haven.Google Scholar
  32. Huntington, Samuel P.: ‘The United States’, in Michael Crozier (ed.), The Crisis of Democracy, New York University Press, New York, 135–157.Google Scholar
  33. Hsu, Francis L.K.: 1975, lemoto, The Heart of Japan, Halstead Press, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Kant, Immanuel: 1956, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg.Google Scholar
  35. Keane, John (ed.): 1988, Civil Society and the State, Verso, London.Google Scholar
  36. Klosko, George: 1986, The Development of Plato’s Political Philosophy, Methuen, London.Google Scholar
  37. Kossmann, Ernst H.: 1987, ‘The Singularity of Absolutism’, in Ernst H. Kossmann, Politieke theorie en geschiedenis, Bert Bakker, Amsterdam, 127–139.Google Scholar
  38. Kress, Paul: 1983, ‘Political Theorizing in the Late Twentieth Century’, in John Nelson (ed.), What Should Political Theory Be Now?, State University of New York Press, Albany, 104–127.Google Scholar
  39. Louis, Pierre: 1945, Les métaphores de Platon, Impriméries Réunies, Rennes.Google Scholar
  40. Maier, Charles S.: 1987, ‘Introduction’, in Charles S. Maier (ed.), Changing Boundaries of the Political, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1–24.Google Scholar
  41. McCloskey, Donald: 1985, The Rhetoric of Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.Google Scholar
  42. Najita, Tetsuo: 1974, The Intellectual Foundations of Modern Japanese Politics,Phoenix Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  43. Nakane, Chie: 1970, Japanese Society, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth.Google Scholar
  44. Nelson, John, Megill, Allan and McCloskey, Donald (eds.): 1987, The Rhetoric of the Human Sciences, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.Google Scholar
  45. Offe, Claus: 1987, ‘Challenging the Boundaries of Institutional Politics: Social Movement Since the 1960s’, in Charles S. Maier (ed.), Changing Boundaries of the Political, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 63–107.Google Scholar
  46. Ono, Sokyo: 1962, Shinto. The Kami Way, Sadao Sakamoto, Tokyo.Google Scholar
  47. Pempel, Theodore J.: 1982, Policy and Politics in Japan. Creative Conservatism, Temple University Press, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  48. Pitkin, Hannah F.: 1967, The Concept of Representation, University of California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  49. Rawls, John: 1972, A Theory of Justice, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  50. Richards, Ivor A.: 1971, The Philosophy of Rhetoric, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  51. Richardson, Barnard M.: 1974, The Political Culture of Japan, University of California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  52. Sandel, Maurice M.: 1982, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  53. Schön, David A.: 1979, ‘Generative Metaphor and Social Policy’, in Andrew Ortony (ed.), Metaphor and Thought, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 254–284.Google Scholar
  54. Schön, David A.: 1983, The Reflective Practitioner. How Professionals Think in Action, Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  55. Spragens, Thomas: 1973, The Politics of Motion. The World of Thomas Hobbes,University Press of Kentucky, Lexington.Google Scholar
  56. Todorov, Tzvetan: 1977, ‘Speech According to Constant’, in Tzvetan Todorov, The Poetics of Prose, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 120–154.Google Scholar
  57. Walzer, Michael: 1985, Spheres of Justice, Basil Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  58. White, James B.: 1985, Heracles’ Bow: Essays on the Rhetoric and Poetics of the Law, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.Google Scholar
  59. White, James B.: 1987, ‘Rhetoric and Law: The Arts of Cultural and Communal Life’, in John Nelson, Allan Megill and Donald McCloskey (eds.), The Rhetoric of the Human Sciences, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 298–319.Google Scholar
  60. Winkler, Markus: 1981, ‘Constant et la métaphore de la poussière’, Annales Benjamin Constant 2 1–24.Google Scholar
  61. Witteveen, Willem J.: 1985, ‘Dokteren aan het schip van staat’, in Marcus A.P. Bovens and Willem J. Witteveens (eds.), Net schip van staat, Tjeenk Willink, Zwolle, 23–53.Google Scholar
  62. Wittgenstein, Ludwig: 1971, Tractatus logico-philosophicus, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main.Google Scholar
  63. Wolferen, Karel G.: 1989, The Enigma of Japanese Power, Macmillan, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank R. Ankersmit

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations