Waking up Sleeping Metaphors: A Cognitive Approach to Parmenides’ Two Ways of Enquiry

Chiara Ferella


This paper discusses the notions of sleeping and waking metaphors, activation of metaphoricity and deliberate metaphor use in the poem of Parmenides of Elea. I analyse certain metaphors in Parmenides’ text, which I understand as linguistic realizations of the conceptual metaphor an argument defines a path. I show that these are sleeping metaphors, and that Parmenides woke them up at the outset of his philosophical discourse. By identifying rhetorical devices which indicate Parmenides’ deliberateness when activating sleeping metaphors, I show to what extent and to what goals deliberate metaphors are powerful tools in Parmenides’ philosophical discourse.


Metaphors; Parmenides; ways of enquiry; deliberate metaphor use; sleeping and waking metaphors; activation devices

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eTopoi. Journal for Ancient Studies (ISSN 2192-2608)