Icons of novel thought (Claas Lattmann)

Icons of novel thought. A new perspective on Peirce's definition of metaphor (CP 2.277), Semiotica (forthcoming)


Abstract: This paper explicates Peirce’s definition of metaphor (CP 2.277): metaphor is not a proposition, but a genuinely innovative iconic (meta-) sign that represents a novel sign relation, i.e. novel thought. In testing the adequacy of this definition, it is found (inter alia) that metaphors have to be interpreted like any other signs (especially by way of paraphrase), how they get conventional and can be revived and that they are independent of linguistic levels (like words) and media (like natural language). Peirce’s theory thus seems to be a reasonable explanation of this central semiotic phenomenon and, hence, a powerful tool for modern literary and cultural studies.