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Title: Returning to the abyss : metaphor, or the negotiation between sensible and intelligible
Author: Hope, Alexander James
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis aims to make an intervention in contemporary metaphor studies. It eschews the problematic simplifications of most of the research stemming from cognitive linguistics, and also challenges the view of the relations between sensible and intelligible as a 'correlationist circle' put forward following the publication of Quentin Meillassoux's After Finitude. In contrast, it argues that a further development of the projects of philosophers such as Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida and Jean-Francois Lyotard offers a way to re-examine the relationship between sensible and intelligible, to explore what metaphor might tell us about a properly post-Kantian materiality. That is to say, this thesis aims to develop a materiality different to that of positivism, a materialism which embraces the vertigo induced by attempting to leap the abyss between intelligible and sensible, sensible and intelligible. To achieve this aim, it starts with a simple hypothesis: that what we call 'metaphor' is the privileged manifestation of the abyssal relationship between sensible and intelligible, and that, to cite Jean-Francois Lyotard, 'one never touches the thing itself but metaphorically'. We then proceed to work through a number of examples to try to follow the folds and reversals of this relationship, or perhaps rather these relationships. First, we re-examine the ninth of Walter Benjamin's 'Theses on the Philosophy of History', in Harry Zohn's idiosyncratic but now iconic translation, to examine not how it expresses or relates to Benjamin's wider corpus, but rather how the relationship of this text with its textual double serves to resist the repeated imprint of cliche. Secondly, we return to the scene of Jacques Derrida's 'Khora' and investigate how the 'metaphorical' schema of Plato's Timaeus, a creation myth about the construction of the universe from the intelligible eidos, seems to open up a fissure in one of the foundation stones of metaphysics. In order to help dispel one of the persistent metaphysical fallacies about metaphor, we then attempt to follow the return of this text to the sensible, in the form of architecture, as Peter Eisenman and Derrida's proposed garden for Bernard Tschumi's Pare de Ia villette in Paris. Finally, we examine Catherine Malabou's reworking of Hegelian 'plasticity' in relation to neuroscience and try to work through the ways in which she attempts to control the disseminative and metaphorical properties of the concept and its relation to capital. Throughout this text we seek to push logos to master a rhetoric or muthos to which it is not adequate, and thus both show the fissures through which we might feel the draft of the abyss below and better understand the phantasmal bridge that constitutes that abyss in the very movement of its construction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available