Nineteenth century thinkers such as
Müller, Herbert Spencer, and
G. Frazer all postulated a presumed stage in the development of language
which Barfield calls "the metaphorical period," a stage during which inner,
or immaterial language was formed out of the already given outer, or material
language. For Müller, the end result of the metaphorical period was
the creation of mythology, that "disease of language" in which men set
about projecting their inner, metaphorically created world back onto the
blank screen of the natural order of things (see SM 86).
Barfield finds such a conception a blatant
example of logomorphism in action, as he
makes apparent in the following reductio
ad absurdum refutation (from "The Meaning of Literal") of the hypothesis.
|See in particular "Subject and Object in the
History of Meaning" (SM 92-118), Saving the Appearances,