Grant number: PTDC/FER‐FIL/28278/2017
Funding agency: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Budget: 238.242,46 EUR
Metaphors are crucial instruments of communication, especially in chronic care communication. They can make technical or unfamiliar concepts familiar, and thus can be used for explaining medical notions or promoting adherence, compliance, or lifestyle changes. However, at the same time, they can be sources of misunderstanding and confusion. Choosing the most effective metaphors thus becomes a fundamental clinical challenge for chronic care. The project has three objectives, two theoretical and one practical. First, a pragmatic and functional theory of metaphor interpretation will be developed, filling a gap in the literature of philosophy of language. The idea is to conceive metaphors as the object of a process of best explanation of meaning, in which the various presumptions concerning the possible function of the metaphor in the given dialogue, language use, beliefs and values are assessed. This model is aimed at pointing out the role of context and common knowledge in metaphor understanding. The second objective is to develop a coding scheme for capturing degrees of misunderstanding in dialogues, addressing a crucial problem in communication and discourse studies. The communicative effectiveness of a metaphor will be evaluated based on how the interlocutor replies to the metaphorical utterance (the interlocutor’s uptake of the utterance). The empirical goal, concerning the area of communication in diabetes care, is to provide an evidence-based corpus of effective (and ineffective) metaphors concerning diabetes, in which they are also classified and assessed based on the theoretical advances, pointing out whether, why, and how they can be the source of understanding and misunderstanding.
Members of the project: