On Words and Things

Vox Philosophiae 1 (2003)
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In this essay, I will critically examine Collin Turbayne and Philip Wheelwright's approaches to the theory of metaphor. Through criticism of their views I will arrive at Paul Ricoeur's theory which I consider is the most comprehensive one. Ricoeur retains what is fruitful from the above mentioned theories and tries to make them part of a very ambitious project which is represented by his monumental work The Rule of Metaphor (1977). He manages to open a new dimension in the analysis of metaphor by linking it through a special use of imagination to the phenomenal world, by according it the status of statement (redefining Frege's sense and reference polarity) and by pointing out the idea that metaphors have an emotional meaning as well. Thus, I will start with the two different views on this issue, first that of Collin Turbayne, who develops a theory of metaphor based on the "as if" prescription and thus brings the whole discussion on metaphor into the field of reflective judgment. Then there is Philip Weelwright's theory which considers that metaphorical language, through its fluidity and tensiveness, is closely connected to "what is", that is, to the real. Using these two theories as dialectical counterparts, I will try to bring them together in an act of synthesis, arriving finally at Paul Ricoeur's theory of metaphor.



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Gabriel Furmuzachi
University of Vienna

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