David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Noûs 23 (1):17-34 (1989)
This article shows how attention to extended metaphors provides the basis for a substantive account of what it is to understand a metaphor. Offering an analysis of extended metaphors modeled on an analysis of co-referential anaphoric chains, this article presents an account of how contexts makes metaphors. The analysis introduces the concept of expressive commitment, commitment to the viability and value of particular modes of discourse. Unlike literal interpretation, metaphorical interpretation puts the expressive commitment in the forefront of the interpretive process. The analogy between extended metaphors and anaphora provides a structure for describing what it is to interpret expressions metaphorically. It generates an account that explains the affinities and differences between extension and explication, and hence of the age-old problem of paraphrase. Further, the account allows for the open-endedness of metaphor without succumbing to the view that metaphor is non-cognitive. Finally, the account developed here underscores the role of expressive commitment in metaphorical interpretation.
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