The unpredictability of metaphor: Ignacio Matte-Blanco's bi-logic and the nature of metaphoric processes

John Fellenor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper represents an initial foray into opening up the way that we can use current ideas about metaphor, its centrality in
mental development, and the bi-logic of Ignacio Matte-Blanco to develop a systematic way of thinking about the
unconscious process and how we can work with it in terms of psychoanalytic practice. The paper initially describes how our
use of metaphor develops, and is tied in with, neural development that occurs from before birth and continues from there
on. The notion of the breast is then explored as a means to exemplify how the psychoanalytic primacy of the breast can be
approached in line with sensorimotor experience and metaphor development. This is followed by a discussion of Ignacio
Matte-Blanco’s bi-logic and the nature of complex systems. Finally, I outline how, at the heart of metaphoric thinking, bilogic
and our ongoing phenomenological experience is the element of the unpredictable, and that it is this very notion that
deserves our attention if we are to develop a more systematic and efficacious psychoanalytic framework
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138 - 147
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Forum of Psychoanalysis
Issue number3
Early online date24 Mar 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011



  • metaphor, bi-logic, unpredictability, neural, Matte-Blanco, Lakoff

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