Using Disputants' Metaphors in Mediation

17 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2004  

Thomas H. Smith


Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 27, 2004


This article argues that a mediator, conscious of the metaphors disputants use, aware of their implications and skilled in their use, will hear more, be better able to reframe, disentangle and guide communications to explore meanings, enhance self-reflection, and expand possibilities. A growing body of work in cognitive science known as conceptual metaphor theory reveals the anatomy of metaphor and its inner workings. The distinctions between source and target domains, the mapping of entailments, correspondences, and inference patterns have been studied extensively and their direct application to mediation is explained and illustrated here. The paper concludes with suggestions for teaching and learning about metaphor intended for its practical use in the mediation process.

Keywords: metaphor, mediation, cognitive linguistics, conceptual metaphor

Suggested Citation

Smith, Thomas H., Using Disputants' Metaphors in Mediation (April 27, 2004). Available at SSRN: or

Thomas H. Smith (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

Boulder, CO 80304
United States

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