edited by Flavia Marcacci (Pontifical Lateran University) and Maria Grazia Rossi (Nova University of Lisbon)
The discursive thought seems very often lacking in adequate expressivity to convey all contents and meanings; not only in poetry and in art, but also in science and philosophy. If something seems to be not completely expressible and clear, it is expressed as if something would be something else that we already understand. This is the reason why, from one hand, we use very often metaphors, and from the other hand, metaphor is a subject with a long and impressive tradition in philosophical and scientific thought. We maintain there is a twofold pattern of usage for metaphors, which we label as “internal” and “external”. In the first case, the “internal” one, metaphor assists and urges the formation of new ideas in the inside of science. In the “external” case, from the inside of science to its “outside”, metaphor is useful to communicate scientific ideas. Namely, metaphor helps us to express intuitively concepts and contents for the layperson; in other words, science can be explained in layman’s terms just by using metaphors. Therefore, metaphors have a social impact as communication tools.
Moving within a multidisciplinary approach, each article of this book analyses these questions from a particular point of view, by discussing a specific problem. This book is composed in two parts: the contributions in first part look into the nature of metaphors and their role in the description of human rationality; the second part inquires the heuristic use of metaphors in science, by drawing on both historical case-studies and theoretical discussion.