metaphorical

Theory

"It is the theory that decides what we can observe." (Einstein)

"It is more important that a theory be beautiful than it be true." (Paul Dirac)

In Greek, theoria originally meant a looking at or viewing and theoreo, a spectator. In this sense, theory and Visuality are metaphors of each other.

Is the theoretical attitude is that of the disengaged observer? Does theory require a distinction between the illusionless observer and the gullible participant, or to put it more mildly, between theory and observation? Does theory always entail what John Dewey derided as the "spectator theory of knowledge"? Perhaps to theorize is to create the impression of something that existed already (or, even better, always already) (see metaphor) In the Pragmatic tradition, theory is the critical reflection on "belief." William James calls it "an appetite of the mind," what Frank Lentricchia calls "the need to generalize" and "to obliterate differences." (quoted in Cary Wolfe, Postmodern Theory and the Pragmatics of the "Outside" )

But according to the Greek conception, theory is not a knowledge but touching (thigein ).

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art/science

The French zoosystéician Louis Bec argues that "With the advent of the sciences of the "artificial" and of communication, as well as the explosion of the technosciences and the sciences of the living a "lieu" (site or place) has emerged in which the total integration of arts, sciences, and technology can be achieved. There are now two different "epistemological poles" that encompass this integration. The first strives to link "poetic", "symbolic" descriptions of nature's mechanisms to scientific ones, producing " metaphorical expressions". (cf Gaia) The second involves activities ( cybernetics, artificial intelligence,...) which, among other ends, ultimately aim to simulate and act on the world, to better understand it by transforming it. (See Artificial Life II

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clothing / garment

In traditional rhetoric and neo-classic theory, language is the "dress" of thought, and figures are the " ornaments" of language, for the sake of the pleasurable emotion which distinguishes a poetic from a merely didactic discourse. (Abrams, Mirror and the Lamp, p.290)

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immersion

There are a number of ways to approach the metaphors of immersion and navigation that suffuse descriptions of technology. The psychological theme of the "oceanic" is explored by Freud in Civilization and its Discontents among other places, and provides an interpretation of the sense immensity that the term conveys. 

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metaphor / model

According to Giambattista Vico, the ancient language, before the formation of society, must have been full of the boldest metaphor, since this is the natural character of "words taken wholly from rough Nature, and invented under some Passion, as Terror, Rage, or Want." A distant echo of Vico's theories can be heard in Steven Pinker's Darwinian accounts of language. For Pinker, metaphors of space and force are quite possibly part of our evolutionary inheritance and are so basic to language that they are hardly metaphors at all, at lease not in the literary sense.

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mirror

mirror

In the tenth book of the Republic, Socrates differentiates the maker of an object, such as a bed, made in accordance with the Idea of the thing (this is its eidos or form) , from the artist, proceeding in a quick and easy fashion, as if using a mirror. But "What should a painting be called," asked Alberti, "except the holding of a mirror up to the original as in art?"

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phase beauty

"A flowering spray of lily-of-the-valley exemplifies a growth gradient, after a simple fashion of its own. Along the stalk the growth-rate falls away; the florets are of descending age, from flower to bud; their graded differences of age lead to an exquisite gradation of size and form; the time-interval between one and another, or the "space-time relation" between them all, gives a peculiar beauty -- we may call it phase beauty - to the whole." 

(D'Arcy Thompson On Growth and Form, page unknown, quoted in Lindenmayer and Prusinkiewicz, "Developmental Models of Multicellular Organisms", Artificial Life 2, p.230) 

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symbiosis

The term symbiosis was defined by the German mycologist Anton De Bary (1879) as meaning the "living together" of "dissimilar" or "differently named" organisms

Today, in most current biological literature, it is taken to mean "mutualistic biotrophic associations" (biotrophy: one partner requires a nutrient that is a metabolic product of the other partner.) For example, lichens consist of algal and fungal components in nearly equal mass in symbiosis. 

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tree

tree

The image of the tree, of branching phylogenies, has come to underly all our thinking about organisms and evolution. It is a "canonical icon" whose influence can be described as an " unconscious hegemony."The hierarchical structure expresses the pattern of branching speciation, of successive, unending, natural wedging through natural selection which forms the "tree of life." The tree combines the "ladder" of evolution, from lower to higher lifeform -- and with man at the top -- with the "cone" of increasing diversity. (Steven Jay Gould in Hidden Histories of Science) As Gould points out, the latter is factually incorrect. The Cambrian explosion was the moment of greatest diversity. The former is, of course, an anthropocentric bias. 

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