Mind the metaphor! A systematic fallacy in analogical reasoning

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Conceptual metaphors facilitate both productive and pernicious analogical reasoning. This paper addresses the question: When and why does the frequently helpful use of metaphor become pernicious? By applying the most influential theoretical framework from cognitive psychology (structure-mapping theory) in analysing the philosophically most prominent example of pernicious metaphorical reasoning (the early modern transformation of ‘the mind’), we identify a philosophically relevant but previously undescribed fallacy in analogical reasoning with metaphors. We then outline an explanation of why even competent thinkers commit this fallacy and obtain a psychologically informed ‘debunking’ explanation of the kind experimental philosophy’s ‘sources project’ seeks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-77
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • analogical inference
  • conceptual metaphor
  • mind metaphors
  • automatic inference
  • psychology of judgment and reasoning
  • debunking explanations

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