Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bainard Cowan


The contemporary preoccupation with metaphor lies in its capability of deconstructing and disempowering metaphysics, and of creating a logic of uncertainty or a Derridian logic of supplements in opposition to the logic of identity and of non-contradiction. As a figure of speech saying one thing but meaning something else, metaphor contains in itself a certain alterity and otherness which resists a logical identity as well as a systematic philosophy. In my study of metaphor in the texts of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida, I inquire into the problematic relation or difference between philosophy and metaphor, focusing on how the former is metaphorized at the hands of literature. At issue is the question of how Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida confronted by way of metaphor the problem of logocentrism inherent in the history of western philosophy. If metaphor has been traditionally interpreted back into a conceptual term and thus is to be undone at the very moment of recognition, now metaphor undoes concept and philosophy. In my discussion of Nietzsche, the metaphoric resistance to concept is shown to be characterized by the metaphor of a journey which never arrives at its destination. For Nietzsche, as soon as metaphor is born, its concept, the supposed parents of metaphor, dies; metaphor is an orphan whose parent died at its birth. My discussion of Heidegger is also dominated by this metaphor of journey. As for Heidegger, words are on the way toward beings and Being, but there is no happy union between them as in conceptual unity. Always on the way toward beings but never reaching its destination, discourse in Heidegger is fundamentally metaphoric and is characterized by the fundamental gap and distance between saying and meaning. Finally in my study of Derrida, I try to demonstrate how this journey of metaphor is forced to come to its destination by the intrinsic necessity of philosophy for its survival--philosophy is formulated by its suppression of the other, metaphoricity. Philosophy's relation to metaphysics is thus a strange mixture of dependence and suppression.