Review: Josef Stern, Metaphor in Context [Book Review]

Noûs 39 (4):715-731 (2005)
Metaphor is a crucially context-dependent linguistic phenomenon. This fact was not clearly recognized until some time in the 1970’s. Until then, most theorists assumed that a sentence must have a fixed set of metaphorical meanings, if it had any at all. Often, they also assumed that metaphoricity was the product of grammatical deviance, in the form of a category mistake. To compensate for this deviance, they thought, at least one of the sentence’s constituent terms underwent a meaning-changing ‘metaphorical twist’, which deleted the objectionable selection restriction or semantic marker (e.g., Levin 1977) or turned one of the term’s fixed set of connotations into its denotation (e.g., Beardsley 1962). This situation changed as theorists began to pay more serious attention to how metaphors actually function. First, it was pointed out that not all sentences used metaphorically are logically or even pragmatically absurd (Cohen 1975). Second, it became increasingly obvious that in the context of different sentences, and in the context of the same sentence as uttered by different speakers on different occasions, the same word could be used metaphorically to express many, very different meanings. Semantic theories became increasingly bloated as theorists attempted to encompass all this variety within the lexicon. Eventually, semantic theories of metaphor were largely abandoned. Instead, theorists generally maintained either that metaphors are a type of speaker meaning, on which a speaker says one thing in order to mean something else (e.g., Grice 1975, Searle 1979), or else that metaphors don’t have any distinctive ‘meaning’ at all, but simply cause certain distinctive effects in their hearers (e.g., Davidson 1984, Rorty 1987). Philosophers of language have devoted much energy in the last 30 years to investigating the various ways in which context can affect communicated..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 21,527
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Ofra Magidor (2009). Category Mistakes Are Meaningful. Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (6):553-581.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Josef Stern (2011). Metaphor and Minimalism. Philosophical Studies 153 (2):273 - 298.
Josef Stern (2007). The Life and Death of a Metaphor, or the Metaphysics of Metaphor. The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 3 (1).
Hanna Kim (2008). Context, Compositionality and Metaphor. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 39:111-119.
Sun-Ah Kang (2008). Pictorial Metaphor. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 1:121-127.
Catherine Wearing (2006). Metaphor and What is Said. Mind and Language 21 (3):310–332.
Sherrill Jean Begres (1992). Metaphor and Constancy of Meaning. Grazer Philosophische Studien 43:143-161.
Josef Stern (2006). Metaphor, Literal, Literalism. Mind and Language 21 (3):243–279.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

91 ( #47,502 of 1,911,917 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #117,595 of 1,911,917 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.