The Direct Expression of Metaphorical Content

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

According to a direct expression account of metaphor (Bezuidenhout, 2001), “what is said” by a metaphorical utterance of a sentence is different from what is said by a literal utterance of that same sentence. Thus, what is said by a metaphorical utterance of “Jesus was a carpenter” is different from what is said by a literal utterance of that same sentence. The linguistic contents of the two utterances are (in other words) different. Further, on a direct expression account of metaphor, what is said by a metaphorical utterance of a sentence is expressed directly; it is not inferred from some other, putatively more fundamental, content. Such a view is at odds with the semantic minimalism argued for by Cappelen and Lepore in their (2005) Insensitive Semantics. For it entails the view that (contra Cappelen and Lepore) the linguistic content of an utterance depends (inter alia) on how the uttered sentence is being used: literally or non-literally. In this paper, I do two things. First, I argue that certain arguments that Cappelen and Lepore would likely raise against a direct expression view of metaphor won't work. Second, appealing to considerations used in support of my first point, I argue that one of Cappelen and Lepore's central arguments against radical contextualism (the view of linguistic communication that motivates a direct expression account of metaphor) is based on an uncharitable interpretation of that view. The net result is, I hope, a better understanding of both the direct expression account of metaphor and the more general view of linguistic communication that underlies it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStudies in Linguistics and Philosophy
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Pages237-253
Number of pages17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Publication series

NameStudies in Linguistics and Philosophy
Volume85
ISSN (Print)0924-4662
ISSN (Electronic)2215-034X

Keywords

  • Metaphor radical contextualism semantic minimalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy

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