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Abstract
In this article, I start with the observation that aesthetic terms resist metaphorical interpretation; that is, it makes little sense to say that something is beautiful metaphorically speaking or to say something is metaphorically elegant, harmonious, or sublime. I argue that aesthetic terms’ lack of metaphorical interpretations is not explained by the fact that their applicability is not limited to a particular category of objects, at least in the standard sense of ‘category.’ In general, I challenge category-based accounts of metaphorical interpretability and instead offer an alternative explanation for aesthetic terms’ lack of metaphorical interpretations, one that involves the notion of context shifts rather than category violations. I argue that what is required for metaphorical interpretability is the joint satisfaction of two conditions: multidimensionality and the presence of a default dimension. Aesthetic terms lack metaphorical readings because they fail to satisfy, even though they satisfy. I argue that the alternative account I offer is predictively adequate, more parsimonious, less subject to counterexamples, and hence preferable to the category-based one
Keywords aesthetic terms  metaphor
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DOI 10.1111/jaac.12215
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