We think and speak in figures. This is key to our creativity. We re-imagine one thing as another, pretend ourself to be another, do one thing in order to achieve another, or say one thing to mean another. This comes easily because of our abilities both to work out meaning in context and re-purpose words. Figures of speech are tools for this re-purposing. Whether we use metaphor, simile, irony, hyperbole, and litotes individually, or as compound figures, the uses are all rooted in literal meanings. These uses invite us to explore the context to find new meanings, new purposes, beyond the literal.
This special issue of Philosophical Studies brings together eight papers on various aspects and applications of figurative speech including: David Hills, Mitch Green, Liz Camp, Ofra Magidor, Larry Horn, Ken Walton, Stephen Barker, and Mihaela Popa-Wyatt.