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April 1937


Arch NeurPsych. 1937;37(4):796-804. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1937.02260160096010

The basic language, consisting of symbolizations for objects and performances and their qualities, is enriched by changing the meaning values of words through displacement, including extension and restriction. Displacement is accomplished by comparisons of all sorts—similes, metaphors and identifications (personifications or idealizations). They may all be classed as "aesthetic fictions," in the sense of Vaihinger,1 "as if" constructs, developed purely for their useful economizing value in performing work (i. e., in leading to action). Similes preserve overtly the "as if" construction; metaphors tacitly acknowledge the "as if," whereas identifications of all sorts may or may not obey the "as if," and when they do, it is in a deeply disguised form.

Metaphor especially has been used in the development of words denoting affective states and intellectual processes—by the simple transfer of the meaning from the concrete sense to the figurative, as for example: "bitter," i. e., "biting," to "bitter"