This chapter presents a discourse analytical study of explicit reference to the concept of metaphor within a broad range of biological disciplines. The aim of the analysis was to study in what capacity the term ‘metaphor’ was conceptualized and framed in actual scientific research writing, and whether the different framings were related to the specific discipline or genre or even stage of scientific development. Though the concept of metaphor is generally valued as a scientific heuristic resource, two distinct positions on the specific values of metaphor in science are represented in the material. The dominant position criticizes metaphor for its open-endedness and aims at either empirically sanitizing or discarding the metaphor. A less dominant and more social-constructive position embraces the open-endedness as a valuable and dynamic scientific driving force suitable for scientific communication as well as heuristics. In either case, the explicit reference to metaphor functions as a rhetorical strategy for promoting and positioning the author’s own research.
|Metaphor in Language, Cognition, and Communication