Metaphor and Sentence Meaning

Facta Philosophica 8 (1-2):3-22 (2006)
Abstract
Donald Davidson holds that metaphors have no linguistic meaning in addition to their literal meaning. Max Black and Frank B. Farrell each contends that Davidson’s view is inconsistent with the fact that metaphors are appropriate objects of explication and evaluation. However, as I show, Davidson’s view actually is entirely consistent with this fact. I also argue that Black’s and Farrell’s own accounts of metaphor imply that sometimes the linguistic meaning of a sentence is other than a product of the meanings of its words and its logical form, and I give a reason why accounts of metaphor with this implication are best rejected. E.M. Zemach, for his part, agrees with Davidson about what metaphors mean, but contends that, on Davidson’s recent account of language and interpretation, all metaphors turn out to be true; metaphors express novel or impractical but nonetheless literally true comparisons or categorizations. Zemach, however, I argue, has neglected the distinction between how speakers actually apply their words to things and their standards of correct application.
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DOI 10.3726/93522_3
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