Parables: Crossroads Between the Cognitive Theory of Metaphor and Argumentation Theory

  • Eduardo de Bustos
Part of the Argumentation Library book series (ARGA, volume 31)


Parables are considered a form of expanded metaphors, with varying levels of complexity in their narrative structure. They are defined by their perlocutionary purpose, meaning that they typically aim to convey a moral or spiritual teaching. This meaning is an indirect meaning, in the sense that it is inferred under structural and contextual constraints. Two kinds of parables are analyzed: conventional parables, such as the religious parables of the Gospel, and open texture parables, exemplified by Kafka’s parable “My destination”. The aim of this chapter is threefold. After a brief consideration on the nature of parables and some comments on the kind of knowledge they convey, the mechanisms whereby the meaning of the parable is accessed are examined. Section 6.5 details the structural requirements for working out the meaning of parables. These encompass the preservation of formal principles, such as the principle of invariance. Finally, Sect. 6.6 defines the conditions for such inferred meaning to be integrated into an analogy-based argument, that is, the requirements that allow parables to be used relevantly in argumentative exchanges.


Target Domain Source Domain Literal Meaning Normal Place Impartial Observer 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidad Nacional de Educación a DistanciaMadridSpain

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