University of Kent

Myopic Metaphors in Mind

In my paper, I critique the ubiquity of the term ‘ineffable’. I do not dispute that religious experiences/psychedelic states of consciousness are incompatible with ‘normal’ rhetoric. However, it seems that ‘ineffable’ has become simply another reductionist category that discourages further inquiry; ‘ineffable’ dissuades users and researchers from devoting critical and creative attention to narratives, and also undermines the evidence that some linguistic capacities appear to be enhanced by altered states of consciousness. I will explore the metaphysical implications of the metaphors through which we tend to talk about extraordinary experiences, semantic activation in altered states, and the importance of replacing the concept of ‘ineffable’ with ‘incompatible’.

Reanne Crane