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date: 18 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Metaphors and analogies are two of the most popular heuristics utilized by decision makers, promoting an unconscious inference into the realm of rationality within the mind. A master of metaphor and analogy, the late leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Mao Zedong, offers an illuminating example of such heuristic reasoning. Analyzing the metaphors and analogies most frequently invoked by the PRC leader, this chapter demonstrates that Mao’s conceptual system was highly metaphorical. While historical analogies explain Mao’s heuristic reasoning for China’s revolutionary diplomacy, his use of metaphors reveals how stereotypes influenced his understanding of his enemies, which in turn explained and shaped China’s major foreign policy decisions. Mao’s use/misuse of metaphors and analogies also showcases their fallacies, mainly their tendency to exaggerate similarities and move from the realization that something is like something else to assuming that something is exactly like something else.

Keywords: metaphor, analogy, heuristic, Chinese foreign policy, Mao’s decision style

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