Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

jrlewis's picture

metaphors and paradoxs

As a result of our discussion on Thursday, I feel more comfortable talking about metaphors from a stylistic as opposed to content-based approach.  So I would like to reinterpret Dennett’s universal acid metaphor from a more literary perspective.  The abstract component of the metaphor is the theory of evolution; it is that which needs explanation.  The concrete element is the concept of a universal acid.  A universal acid is an imaginary creation, something that is physically impossible to achieve or produce.  The story of the universal acid is paradoxical.  Can a paradox function as the concrete component of a metaphor? 

Maybe, the idea of a paradox was what Dennett was trying to get at.  That people perceive the theory of evolution with such fear, they imbue it with all sorts of fantastic powers.  For example, potency analogous to a universal acid. These imaginings are simply creations of the human mind, exaggerations at that.  The theory of evolution might be analogous to an ordinary weak acid, not an infinitely strong acid. 

Reply

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
2 + 17 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.