On the Very Importance of the Metaphoric as Semantic to Communication, Understanding, and the Philosophy of Language

Dissertation, College of Wooster (2001)
The focus of this thesis is a defense of metaphorical meaning. Since metaphor is such a fundamental aspect of language, my first emphasis is to find error in pragmatic theories of meaning. The first two chapters are where this occurs; in chapter one, we first investigate an account of intention and convention as developed by Grice, Lewis, and others, ultimately leading to our rejection of it. The second chapter is similar in structure, but rather investigates Searle’s account of regulative rules. The third chapter refutes those positions that reject the possibility of metaphorical meaning, i.e., that consider it a ‘pragmatic’ phenomenon (one that is determined by use rather than meaning). Tbat chapter also investigates the issue of language as context-independent, the possibility of a metaphor as paraphrasable, and the question of ‘dead metaphor.’ The fourth chapter, consequently, aims at presenting a positive account of metaphorical meaning. My claim is that not only does metaphor have meaning, but that all meaning is to some extent metaphorical. We will also determine why we use metaphor and what, in my view, a dead metaphor really is. The final chapter is designed to give a preliminary account of what a theory of understanding compatible with metaphor would look like and explores views outside of analytic philosophy.
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