metonymy and material

The basic "strategy" in metonymy is this: to convey some incorporeal or intangible state in terms of the corporeal or tangible. E.g., to speak of "the heart" rather than "the emotions." If you trail language back far enough, of course, you will find that all our terms for "spiritual" states were metonymic in origin.

On Synecdoche and Being

In sum, when you consider a thing just as it is, with being of one part involved in the being of its other parts, and with all the parts derived from the being of the whole considered as a generating principle, there is nothing but a "present tense" involved here, or better, a "tenseless," even though the thing thus dealt with arises in time and passes with time.

Interpretation of Synecdoche

“Sensory representation is, of course, synecdochic in that the senses abstract certain qualities from some bundle of electro-chemical activities we call, say, a tree, and these qualities (such as size, shape, color, texture, weight, etc.) can be said "truly to represent" a tree. Similarly, artistic representation is synecdochic, in that certain relations within the medium "stand for" corresponding relations outside it.” (Kenneth Burke, A Grammar of Motives - Appendix D: Four Master Tropes, pg. 508)

Kant's "Sensibility" in Burke

But all thought must relate ultimately to the intuitions of sensibility, “because in no other way can an object be given to us.” (Grammar 188, quoting Kant)

Grammar of Motives II

“I refer to metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony. And my primary concern with them here will be not with their purely figurative usage, but with their role in the discovery and description of “the truth”. - Kenneth Burke GOM 503

The Delayed Action

… Korzybski’s usual attitude of delayed action. And so, recalling what we have said about the tragedy of learning: by participation in the Korzybski mathema, through the medium of delayed poiema we may avoid a disconcerting pathema (Grammar of Motives, pg 241).

The Eternal Now

Even though a work of art were to last but a few moments, being destroyed almost immediately after production, during its brief physical duration you might deal with it sub specie aeternitatis, in terms of timelessness.


MO, I thought of you instantly when I read this. I wondered if you would disagree with him, based on what you're reading.

The Strange Bedfellows of Imagination and Reason

"Thus, although the cult of 'imagination' is usually urged today by those who champion poetry as afield opposed to science, our investigations would suggest the ironic possibility that they exemplify an aspect of precisely the thinking they would reject" (GoM 223).

An Unhappy Medium

we can say that people interpret natural sequences in terms of cause and effect not because of something in the natural scene requiring this interpretation, but because they are the sort of agents that see things in terms of necessary relations(187).

Soul Reduction

"Hence, any attempt to deal with human relationships after the analogy of naturalistic correlations becomes necessarily the reduction of some higher or more complex realm of being to the terms of a lower or less complex realm of being." (A Grammar of Motives, 506)


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