Seeing Metaphor as Seeing-As: Remarks on Davidson's Positive View of Metaphor

Philosophical Investigations 14 (2):143-154 (1991)
Lynne Tirrell
University of Connecticut
Davidson suggests that metaphor is a pragmatic (not a semantic) phenomenon; on his view, metaphor is a perlocutionary effect prompts its audience to see one thing as another. Davidson rightly attacks speaker-intentionalism as the source of metaphorical meaning, but settles for an account that depends on audience intentions. A better approach would undermine intentionalism per se, replacing it with a social practice analysis based on patterns of extending the metaphor. This paper shows why Davidson’s perceptual model fails to stave off semantic analysis, and argues that the professed virtues of Davidson's position are more readily found in an account that focuses on the nature of metaphorical interpretation.
Keywords Metaphor  Seeing as  Donald Davidson  intentionalism  social practices  inferentialism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9205.1991.tb00290.x
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