Philosophical Studies:1-20 (forthcoming)

Authors
Megan Henricks Stotts
McMaster University
Abstract
There is a long philosophical tradition of skepticism about the possibility of adequate paraphrases for metaphorical utterances. And even among those who favor paraphrasability, there is a tendency to think that paraphrases of metaphorical utterances may themselves have to be non-literal. I argue that even the most evocative and open-ended metaphorical utterances can be literally and adequately paraphrased, once we recognize that they are actually indirect speech acts—specifically, indirect directives that command the hearer to engage in an open-ended comparison. This leads to an overall picture in which trite, unevocative metaphorical utterances admit of just straightforward, usually non-directive literal paraphrases, while the most evocative metaphorical utterances admit of only indirect directive paraphrases, and metaphorical utterances in a third category admit of two literal paraphrases, one of which is straightforward and usually non-directive, and the other of which takes the indirect directive form. This argument for literal paraphrasability is intended to demystify metaphor, but not to undercut metaphor’s tremendous value as a communicative device.
Keywords metaphor  paraphrase  Donald Davidson  Paul Grice  indirect speech acts
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-020-01423-0
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References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Way of Words.H. P. Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Linguistic Behaviour.Jonathan Bennett - 1976 - Cambridge University Press.

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