Metaphors we think. On science, democracy and other powerful works of fiction

Metáforas que nos piensan. Sobre ciencia, democracia y otras poderosas ficciones

Metaphors we think. On science, democracy and other powerful fictions

Emmánuel Lizcano Fernandez

Editions Under Zero/Traficantes de Sueños. Madrid, 2006

under a free license Creative Commons 2.1


Brilliant and provocative

Emmánuel Lizcano returns with this text to your territory: the imaginary and metaphors. And it does, again, of a brilliant and thought provoking. In his great work above, collective Imagination and creation in mathematics (1993), a book already a classic on the social construction and metaphorical to the mathematical knowledge in classical Greece and in the China of the Han, Lizcano had put in evidence to what extent the very heart of the reason, in its most pure and sacred of mathematical reason – máthema (knowledge) and manthano (learn)- was mediated to the core by magmas metaphorical, which, paradoxically, at the time that they guarded their claim to universal truth, simultaneously, betrayed their deep local roots in a historical world.

In this new essay that brings together various texts without losing its unitary character, rehearse again some suggestive tientos that could well be part of a possible epistemology libertarian. Following the path opened by Nietzsche, Derrida, and a good part of the most critical constructivism, contemporary, Lizcano you decide to think with your nose and sniffing around like a hound dog under each concept, under each idea more or less respectable, to the search for those traces of the old metaphors that have forgotten what they are and that socially constructed trellises of Power/Knowledge and the illusion of every day; that illusion which makes and unmakes our (¡!) bodies, our senses, our democracy and our classrooms and laboratories.

So, the book reveals, among many other illusions, the construction rhetoric of the public image of techno-science; subjected to a suggestive analysis of the complex metaphorical-that give meaning to the famous five ways (or five thousand?) of the western tradition, dominated by the vision (theorein platonic), facing to the predominance of smell among the ongee of the Andaman islands, in the sense heat of the tzotil mexicans as axis of its social life, and psychic or energy flows chromatic among the desana of the colombian Amazon, and discovers, also, that the metaphors that twisted and plotted the thinking of mathematician of the tribe european, with the local aboriginal people as famous as Descartes, Leibniz, or Kant, would be unbearably indigenous and naïve for any modest algebraist chinese horrified by their awkwardness, hesitation and reticence (how ignorant of the complex yin/yang!) with the Wu (zero), negative numbers and imaginary numbers (as if the so-called natural had higher entity!). Metaphors that would have prevented (obsessed with the perception of geometrical and writing in rows), barruntar even the possibility of imagining that another deed of rows and columns (displayed in a simple dashboard of jade) essential to visualize the algebra of matrices and to solve linear equations with several unknowns.

Metaphors that we think seems to pull all the consequences of that wise opinion that he suspected that every document of culture was, and is, at the same time a document of barbarism. We are before an excellent combination of the academy’s most sophisticated poured, however, in a prose that is engaging and accessible, with a fierce bet in favor of the autonomy, the personal and the political. We are, also, against a defense burning of the best lost causes because, as I remember, the great philosopher, W Benjamin, only of the despair of the hopeless we will be granted something that deserves the name of hope.

Review conducted by:

Luis Castro Nogueira

Professor of Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences

Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology (UNED)


Free download of the Book

Metáforas que nos piensan. Sobre ciencia, democracia y otras poderosas ficciones

Metaphors we think. On science, democracy and other powerful fictions

Video Emmánuel Lizcano in Educational Area

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