Analogical reasoning in uncovering the meaning of digital-technology terms: the case of backdoor

Inna V. Skrynnikova


The paper substantiates the critical role of analogical reasoning and figurative languge in resolving the ambiguity of cybersecurity terms in various expert communities. Dwelling on the divergent interpretations of a backdoor, it uncovers the potential of metaphor to serve both as an interpretative mechanism and as a framing tool in the ongoing digital technologies discourse. By combining methods of corpus research and frame semantics analysis the study examines the challenges of unpacking the meaning of the contested concept of the backdoor. The paper proposes a qualitatively new metaphor-facilitated mode of interpreting cybersecurity vulnerabilities based on MetaNet deep semantic metaphor analysis and outlines the merits of this hierarchically organized metaphor and frames ontology. The utility of the method is demonstrated through analyzing corpus data and top-down extracting of metaphors (linguistic metaphor – conceptual metaphor – entailed metaphor – inferences) with subsequent identifying of metaphor families dominating the cybersecurity discourse. The paper further claims that the predominant metaphors prompt certain decisions and solutions affecting information security policies. 


analogical reasoning; figurative language; conceptual metaphor; metaphor corpus; contested concepts; cyber security; backdoor

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