The dispensability of metaphor

British Journal of Aesthetics 50 (3):255-272 (2010)
Many philosophers claim that metaphor is indispensable for various purposes. What I shall call the ‘Indispensability Thesis’ is the view that we use at least some metaphors to think, to express, to communicate, or to discover what cannot be thought, expressed, communicated, or discovered without metaphor. I argue in this paper that support for the Indispensability Thesis is based on several confusions. I criticize arguments presented by Stephen Yablo, Berys Gaut, Richard Boyd, and Elisabeth Camp for the Indispensability Thesis, and distinguish it from several plausible claims with which it is easily confused. Although I do not show that the thesis is false, I provide seven grounds for suspicion of our sense (if we have it) that some metaphors are indispensable for the purposes claimed by advocates of the Indispensability Thesis
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