An Irenic Idea about Metaphor

Philosophy 88 (01):5-32 (2013)
It is no surprise that 20th-century noncognitivism about metaphor began with the Logical Positivists. Prosecuting their verification theory of meaning, the Positivists disdained figurative language entirely. Although some metaphorical sentences are empirically verifiable or falsifiable on their literal readings (Bette Midler can be directly observed not to have wings, much less wings with anyone being the wind beneath them, and it is easily checked that many real men do eat quiche), some are not so (“How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!”). Much more to the point, most metaphorical sentences on their metaphorical readings are not verifiable in the ordinary empirical way (“But thought’s the slave of life, and life’s time’s fool”<.
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James F. Ross (1981). Portraying Analogy. Cambridge University Press.

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