Metaphor and the scientific method: Why Lacan's perspective isn't helpful yet
Keefer (2022) argues that theoretical commitments to conceptual metaphor theory (CMT) impede research on metaphor in psychology. To jumpstart the field, he suggests adopting Lacan's perspective. I disagree with this argument for a few reasons. First, CMT has a much more nuanced place in current research on metaphor than it would seem from the target article. Second, the field does engage with the hypotheses enumerated by Keefer: that metaphors emerge from a complex web of associations, have unconscious influence, and reflect deep-seated motivations. I review how contemporary research has approached these questions and show how the constraints cited in Keefer's article stem from the field's commitments to the scientific method and the computational theory of mind, rather than CMT. Finally, contrary to how they are framed in Keefer's article, I argue that these constraints have enabled scientific progress to date and limit the impact of Lacan's perspective moving forward.
Thibodeau, Paul H. 2022. "Metaphor and the scientific method: Why Lacan's perspective isn't helpful yet." Theory & Psychology 32(5): 808-813.
Theory & Psychology
Cognition, Conceptual metaphor theory, Lacan, Metaphor, Scientific method