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How do You Tell a Metaphor from Your Elbow?

Posted By: Dick Schutz on December 11, 2007
 
The answer to that question is easy. If you have any doubt , you can Google for it on the Internet . (Neither Google nor Internet are metaphors. ) Here’s how it goes for Meyer’s headings:

World Wide Web
“A system of Internet servers that support specially formatted documents. “
www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/World_Wide_Web.html
Not a metaphor. Meyer presents a metaphorical interpretation of the system.

Information Highway
Metaphor

Media as Message
Not a metaphor. A proposition originated by Marshall McLuhan

Delivery Truck
Metaphor

Technology as Tool
“ the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area”
http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/technology
In every sector other than education, “technology” is defined as “how to.” Common usage in education treats the term as synonymous with “electronic equipment.” From this perspective, “technology as tool” is a metaphor, which helps account why we have little “practical application of knowledge in education.

I could go in, but this should be sufficient to convey that drift. Lakoff and Johnson in a later book (Philosophy in the Flesh, Basic Books, 1999) make the general point:

“Our moat important abstract concepts, from love, to causation, to morality are conceptualized via complex multiple metaphors. Such metaphors are an essential part of those concepts , and without them the concepts are skeletal and bereft of nearly all conceptual and inferential structure.” (p. 73)

“Distance Learning” is a metaphor only in the sense that the “learning” is typically wishful and undefined. But that also holds for “classroom learning.”

Dick Schutz
3RsPlus@usinter.net

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 How do You Tell a Metaphor from Your Elbow? by Dick Schutz on December 11, 2007
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