Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 30, 2009

Cyclic vs. circular argumentation in the Conceptual Metaphor Theory

András Kertész and Csilla Rákosi
From the journal


In current debates Lakoff and Johnson's Conceptual Metaphor Theory has been charged with the circularity of the relation between the data and the hypotheses. If these charges were justified, they would be fatal for Conceptual Metaphor Theory, because circularity is one of the most serious objections that can be raised against a scientific approach. Accordingly, the paper addresses the following problems: (1) Are the charges claiming that Lakoff and Johnson's Conceptual Metaphor Theory is circular adequate? (2) In what kind of metatheoretical framework can it be decided whether a given argumentation is circular? (3) Is Lakoff and Johnson's Conceptual Metaphor Theory built on circular argumentation? The paper answers these questions as follows: (1) The charges mentioned are not adequate because they are based on defective notions of circularity. (2) An approach to plausible argumentation is proposed. It includes a novel account of fallacies, which facilitates a more adequate definition of circularity than those which the charges use. (3) This novel account yields the result that Lakoff and Johnson's (Metaphors we live by, The University of Chicago Press, 1980) and Lakoff's (The contemporary theory of metaphor, Cambridge University Press, 1993) argumentation is cyclic rather than circular, but the way it treats data includes circular aspects as well.

Correspondence address: András Kertész, University of Debrecen, Institute of German Studies, Department of German Linguistics, Pf. 47, H-4010 Debrecen, Hungary. E-mail: 〈
Correspondence address: Csilla Rákosi, Research Group for Theoretical Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, University of Debrecen, Pf. 47, H-4010 Debrecen, Hungary. E-mail: 〈

Received: 2008-01-27
Revised: 2009-04-30
Published Online: 2009-09-30
Published in Print: 2009-October

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