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Borrowed KnowledgeChaos Theory and the Challenge of Learning across Disciplines$
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Stephen H. Kellert

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226429786

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226429809.001.0001

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How to Criticize a Metaphor

How to Criticize a Metaphor

(p.121) 6 How to Criticize a Metaphor
Borrowed Knowledge
University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on evaluating metaphorical borrowings in order to argue that there are better and worse ways to use scientific knowledge in other fields. It begins by discussing the importance of paying critical attention to metaphorical uses, and then develops a set of four criteria for this evaluative task. These criteria include how well the metaphorical use fits the source field, how useful it is for accomplishing its cognitive function, how much it fulfills a genuine need, and how much critical self-awareness the author of the metaphor displays. By providing concrete examples of how to use these criteria to evaluate a number of metaphorical borrowings from chaos theory, the chapter demonstrates that such evaluation is both possible and worthwhile.

Keywords:   metaphorical borrowings, scientific knowledge, metaphorical use, chaos theory

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