On metaphoric representation

Gregory L. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article discusses claims that conceptual structure is in some part metaphorical, as identified by verbal metaphors like LOVE IS A JOURNEY. Two main interpretations of this view are discussed. In the first, a target domain is not explicitly represented but is instead understood through reference to a different domain. For example, rather than a detailed concept of love per se, one could make reference to the concept of a journey. In the second interpretation, there is a separate representation of love, but the content of that representation is influenced by the metaphor such that the love concept takes on the same structure as the journey concept. It is argued that the first interpretation is not fully coherent. The second interpretation is a possible theory of mental representation, but the article raises a number of empirical and theoretical problems for it. It is concluded that many of the data cited as evidence for metaphoric representations can be accounted for by structural similarity between domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-204
Number of pages32
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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