Metaphor is a pervasive and significant feature of language. We use metaphor to talk about the world in familiar and innovative ways, and in contexts ranging from everyday conversation to literature and scientific theorizing. However, metaphor poses serious challenges for standard philosophical theories of meaning, because it straddles so many important boundaries: between language and thought, between semantics and pragmatics, between rational communication and mere causal association. ;In this dissertation, I develop a pragmatic theory of metaphorical utterances which reconciles two (...) apparently incompatible intuitions. The first is that metaphors are vehicles for undertaking speech acts with a propositional content distinct from their conventional sentence meaning. The second is that metaphors are tools for inducing the essentially non-propositional effect of 'seeing things in a new light' or under a new aspect. These intuitions seem to be incompatible because it is assumed that only one can capture the essential function of metaphor. I propose instead that non-propositional 'seeing-as' or aspectual thought serves as the means by which speakers intend to accomplish their end of communicating content. This does not imply that speakers are not interested in and even committed to the effects of aspectual thought as well, only that it is not their sole, ultimate intention. ;In order to substantiate this proposal about how metaphor works, I develop an account of the psychological structures on which aspectual thought operates and the changes it engenders; I then show how the content of the speaker's intended speech act is determined by the aspect the sentence generates. By bringing propositional content and non-propositional aspectual thought together in this way, my account can treat the full range of metaphors, from 'ordinary' to 'poetic', within a unified theory. Armed with this account, we have the explanatory resources necessary to acknowledge both that ordinary conversational metaphors are efficient and sometimes essential vehicles for communicating determinate propositional contents, and also that rich, poetic metaphors are invitations to an open-ended contemplation of the subject under discussion. These apparently very different effects turn out to be manifestations of the same basic process of comprehension. (shrink)
Most of us create and use a panoply of non-sentential representations throughout our ordinary lives: we regularly use maps to navigate, charts to keep track of complex patterns of data, and diagrams to visualize logical and causal relations among states of affairs. But philosophers typically pay little attention to such representations, focusing almost exclusively on language instead. In particular, when theorizing about the mind, many philosophers assume that there is a very tight mapping between language and thought. Some analyze utterances (...) as the outer vocalizations of inner thoughts (e.g. Grice 1957, Devitt 2005), while others treat thought as a form of inner speech (e.g. Sellars 1956/1997, Carruthers 2002). But even philosophers who take no stand on the relative priority of language and thought still tend to individuate mental states in terms of the sentences we use to ascribe them. Indeed, Dummett (1993) claims that it is constitutive of analytic philosophy that it approaches the mind by way of language. In many ways, this linguistic model is salutary. Our thoughts are often intimately intertwined with their linguistic expression, and public language does provide a comparatively tractable proxy for, and a window into, the messier realm of thought. However, an exclusive focus on thought as it is expressed in language threatens to leave other sorts of thought unexplained, or even to blind us to their possibility. In particular, many cognitive ethologists and psychologists find it useful to talk about humans, chimpanzees, birds, rats, and even bees as employing cognitive maps. We need to make sense of this way of talking about minds as well as more familiar sentential descriptions. In what follows, I investigate the theoretical and practical possibility of non-sentential thought. Ultimately, I am most interested in the contours of distinctively human thought: what forms does human thought take, and how do those different forms interact? How does human thought compare with that of other animals? In this essay, however, I focus on a narrower and more basic theoretical question: could thought occur in maps? Many philosophers are convinced that in some important sense, thought per se must be language-like.. (shrink)
Traditional theories of sarcasm treat it as a case of a speaker's meaning the opposite of what she says. Recently, 'expressivists' have argued that sarcasm is not a type of speaker meaning at all, but merely the expression of a dissociative attitude toward an evoked thought or perspective. I argue that we should analyze sarcasm in terms of meaning inversion, as the traditional theory does; but that we need to construe 'meaning' more broadly, to include illocutionary force and evaluative attitudes (...) as well as propositional content. I distinguish four subclasses of sarcasm, individuated in terms of the target of inversion. Three of these classes raise serious challenges for a standard implicature analysis. (shrink)
On a familiar and prima facie plausible view of metaphor, speakers who speak metaphorically say one thing in order to mean another. A variety of theorists have recently challenged this view; they offer criteria for distinguishing what is said from what is merely meant, and argue that these support classifying metaphor within 'what is said'. I consider four such criteria, and argue that when properly understood, they support the traditional classification instead. I conclude by sketching how we might extract a (...) workable notion of 'what is said' from ordinary intuitions about saying. (shrink)
I argue that we can reconcile two seemingly incompatible traditions for thinking about concepts. On the one hand, many cognitive scientists assume that the systematic redeployment of representational abilities suffices for having concepts. On the other hand, a long philosophical tradition maintains that language is necessary for genuinely conceptual thought. I argue that on a theoretically useful and empirically plausible concept of 'concept', it is necessary and sufficient for conceptual thought that a thinker be able to entertain many of the (...) potential thoughts produced by recombining her representational abilities apart from a direct confrontation with the states of affairs being represented. Such representational abilities support a cognitive engagement with the world that is flexible, abstract, and active. (shrink)
Recently, philosophers have discovered that they have a lot to learn from, or at least to ponder about, fiction. Many metaphysicians are attracted to fiction as a model for our talk about purported objects and properties, such as numbers, morality, and possible worlds, without embracing a robust Platonist ontology. In addition, a growing group of philosophers of mind are interested in the implications of our engagement with fiction for our understanding of the mind and emotions: If I don’t believe that (...) Anna Karenina exists, can I really pity her, or hope or desire that she extricate herself from her tragic situation? And why is there no “morality fiction,” analogous to science fiction? I suspect that philosophers have been especially comfortable thinking about fiction because it seems, at least prima facie, to employ the imagination in a way that conforms to a standard model of the mind. Specifically, contemporary philosophers tend to think of imagination as a form of mental pretense. Mental pretense can take two main forms: a cognitive attitude of supposing a set of propositions to be true (make-believe) or else an experiential state of imaging a scenario as if it were before one (imaging). Much of our pretense intertwines the cognitive and experiential modalities, of course. But both share a crucial common feature: all of one’s imaginative effort is invested in pretending that certain contents obtain. In this sense, we can understand imagination as the “offline” simulation of actual beliefs and perceptions (and perhaps other attitudes as well), where we analyze these in the normal way, as states individuated by their attitude and representational content. While I share the burgeoning interest in fiction, I want to suggest that we also have a lot to learn from poetry, and in particular from poetic metaphor. I will argue.. (shrink)
Does thought precede language, or the other way around? How does having a language affect our thoughts? Who has a language, and who can think? These questions have traditionally been addressed by philosophers, especially by rationalists concerned to identify the essential difference between humans and other animals. More recently, theorists in cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and developmental psychology have been asking these questions in more empirically grounded ways. At its best, this confluence of philosophy and science promises to blend the (...) respective strengths of each discipline, bringing abstract theory to bear on reality in a principled and focused way. At its worst, it risks degenerating into a war of words, with each side employing key expressions in its own idiosyncratic way – or worse, contaminating empirical research with a priori dogmas inherited from outmoded philosophical worldviews. In Baboon Metaphysics (2007), Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth offer an analysis of baboon cognition that promises to exemplify the very best interaction of philosophical theory and empirical research. They argue that baboons have a language of thought: a language-like representational medium, which supports the sophisticated cognitive abilities required to negotiate their complex social environment. This claim is intended to be surprising in its own right, and also to shed light on the evolution of spoken language. Because our own ancestors likely lived in a similarly complex social environment, Cheney and Seyfarth propose that the earliest humans also developed language first as a cognitive medium, and that spoken language evolved as a means to express those thoughts. There are two potential difficulties here. First, ‘Language of Thought’ (LOT) is a term of art, with much associated theoretical baggage and often comparatively little careful exposition. Thus, evaluating the claim requires getting clearer about just what LOT implies in this context.. (shrink)
We should not admit categorial restrictions on the significance of syntactically well formed strings. Syntactically well formed but semantically absurd strings, such as ‘Life’s but a walking shadow’ and ‘Caesar is a prime number’, can express thoughts; and competent thinkers both are able to grasp these and ought to be able to. Gareth Evans’ generality constraint, though Evans himself restricted it, should be viewed as a fully general constraint on concept possession and propositional thought. For (a) even well formed but (...) semantically cross-categorial strings often do possess substantive inferential roles; (b) hearers exploit these inferential roles in interpreting such strings metaphorically; (c) there is no good reason to deny truth-conditions to strings with inferential roles. (shrink)
I take up three puzzles about our emotional and evaluative responses to fiction. First, how can we even have emotional responses to characters and events that we know not to exist, if emotions are as intimately connected to belief and action as they seem to be? One solution to this puzzle claims that we merely imagine having such emotional responses. But this raises the puzzle of why we would ever refuse to follow an author’s instructions to imagine such responses, since (...) we happily imagine many other implausible things. A natural response to this second puzzle is that our responses to fiction are real, and so can’t just be conjured up in response to an author’s demands. However, this simple response is inadequate, because we often respond differently to people and events in fiction than we would if we encountered them in real life. Solving these three puzzles in a consistent way requires the notion of a “perspective” on a fictional world. I sketch an account of this intuitive but frustratingly amorphous notion: perspectives are tools for organizing our thinking, which can in turn alter our emotional and evaluative responses. Cultivating a perspective can be illuminating, entertaining, or corrupting — or all three at once. (shrink)
Philosophers have traditionally inclined toward one of two opposite extremes when it comes to metaphor. On the one hand, partisans of metaphor have tended to believe that metaphors do something different in kind from literal utterances; it is a ‘heresy’, they think, either to deny that what metaphors do is genuinely cognitive, or to assume that it can be translated into literal terms. On the other hand, analytic philosophers have typically denied just this: they tend to assume that if metaphors (...) express any genuine content at all, then that content can in principle be paraphrased into literal terms. They often conclude on this basis that metaphor is theoretically dispensable, and so that it poses no special challenges and affords no distinctive insights for the philosophy of language and mind. (shrink)
Theorists often associate certain “poetic” qualities with metaphor – most especially, producing an open-ended, holistic perspective which is evocative, imagistic and affectively-laden. I argue that, on the one hand, non-cognitivists are wrong to claim that metaphors only produce such perspectives: like ordinary literal speech, they also serve to undertake claims and other speech acts with propositional content. On the other hand, contextualists are wrong to assimilate metaphor to literal loose talk: metaphors depend on using one thing as a perspective for (...) thinking about something else. I bring out the distinctive way that metaphor works by contrasting it with two other poetic uses of language, juxtapositions and “telling details,” that do fit the accounts of metaphor offered by non-cognitivists and contextualists, respectively. (shrink)
Philosophers have often adopted a dismissive attitude toward metaphor. Hobbes (1651, ch. 8) advocated excluding metaphors from rational discourse because they “openly profess deceit,” while Locke (1690, Bk. 3, ch. 10) claimed that figurative uses of language serve only “to insinuate wrong ideas, move the passions, and thereby mislead the judgment; and so indeed are perfect cheats.” Later, logical positivists like Ayer and Carnap assumed that because metaphors like..
Metaphors are powerful communicative tools because they produce ”framing effects’. These effects are especially palpable when the metaphor is an insult that denigrates the hearer or someone he cares about. In such cases, just comprehending the metaphor produces a kind of ”complicity’ that cannot easily be undone by denying the speaker’s claim. Several theorists have taken this to show that metaphors are engaged in a different line of work from ordinary communication. Against this, I argue that metaphorical insults are rhetorically (...) powerful because they combine perspectives, presupposition, and pragmatics in the service of speech acts with assertoric force. (shrink)
Metaphor has traditionally been construed as a linguistic phenomenon: as something produced and understood by speakers of natural language. So understood, metaphors are naturally viewed as linguistic expressions of a particular type, or as linguistic expressions used in a particular type of way. This linguistic conception of metaphor is adopted in this article. In doing so, the article does not intend to rule out the possibility of non-linguistic forms of metaphor. Many theorists think that non-linguistic objects or conceptual structures should (...) also be treated as metaphors. Indeed, the idea that metaphors are in the first instance conceptual phenomena, and linguistic devices only derivatively, is the dominant view in what is now the dominant area of metaphor research: cognitive science. In construing metaphor as linguistic, the article merely intends to impose appropriate constraints on a discussion whose focus is the understanding and analysis of metaphor within contemporary philosophy of language. (shrink)
The expression ‘Like’ has a wide variety of uses among English and American speakers. It may describe preference, as in (1) She likes mint chip ice cream. It may be used as a vehicle of comparison, as in (2) Trieste is like Minsk on steroids.
Metaphor is a crucially context-dependent linguistic phenomenon. This fact was not clearly recognized until some time in the 1970’s. Until then, most theorists assumed that a sentence must have a fixed set of metaphorical meanings, if it had any at all. Often, they also assumed that metaphoricity was the product of grammatical deviance, in the form of a category mistake. To compensate for this deviance, they thought, at least one of the sentence’s constituent terms underwent a meaning-changing ‘metaphorical twist’, which (...) deleted the objectionable selection restriction or semantic marker (e.g., Levin 1977) or turned one of the term’s fixed set of connotations into its denotation (e.g., Beardsley 1962). This situation changed as theorists began to pay more serious attention to how metaphors actually function. First, it was pointed out that not all sentences used metaphorically are logically or even pragmatically absurd (Cohen 1975). Second, it became increasingly obvious that in the context of different sentences, and in the context of the same sentence as uttered by different speakers on different occasions, the same word could be used metaphorically to express many, very different meanings. Semantic theories became increasingly bloated as theorists attempted to encompass all this variety within the lexicon. Eventually, semantic theories of metaphor were largely abandoned. Instead, theorists generally maintained either that metaphors are a type of speaker meaning, on which a speaker says one thing in order to mean something else (e.g., Grice 1975, Searle 1979), or else that metaphors don’t have any distinctive ‘meaning’ at all, but simply cause certain distinctive effects in their hearers (e.g., Davidson 1984, Rorty 1987). Philosophers of language have devoted much energy in the last 30 years to investigating the various ways in which context can affect communicated.. (shrink)
Stalnaker’s Context deploys the core machinery of common ground, possible worlds, and epistemic accessibility to mount a powerful case for the ‘autonomy of pragmatics’: the utility of theorizing about discourse function independently of specific linguistic mechanisms. Illocutionary force lies at the peripherybetween pragmatics—as the rational, non-conventional dynamics of context change—and semantics—as a conventional compositional mechanism for determining truth-conditional contents—in an interesting way. I argue that the conventionalization of illocutionary force, most notably in assertion, has important crosscontextual consequences that are not (...) fully captured by a specification of dynamic effects on common ground. More generally, I suggest that Stalnaker’s purely informational, propositional analysis of both semantic content and dynamic effects distorts our understanding of the function of language, especially of the real-world commitments and consequences engendered by robustly ‘expressive’ language like slurs, honorifics, and thick terms. (shrink)
Theorists often associate certain “poetic” qualities with metaphor — most especially, open-endedness, evocativeness, imagery and affective power. However, the qualities themselves are neither necessary nor sufficient for metaphor. I argue that many of the distinctively “poetic” qualities of metaphor are in fact qualities of aspectual thought, which can also be exemplified by parables, “telling details,” and “just so” stories. Thinking about these other uses of language to produce aspectual thought forces us to pinpoint what is distinctive about metaphor, and also (...) thereby reveals the weaknesses of three established views of metaphor. (shrink)
Davidson advocates a radical and powerful form of anti-conventionalism, on which the scope of a semantic theory is restricted to the most local of contexts: a particular utterance by a particular speaker. I argue that this hyper-localism undercuts the explanatory grounds for his assumption that semantic meaning is systematic, which is central, among other things, to his holism. More importantly, it threatens to undercut the distinction between word meaning and speaker’s meaning, which he takes to be essential to semantics. I (...) argue that a moderate form of conventionalism can restore systematicity and the word/speaker distinction while accommodating Davidson’s insights about the complexities and contextual variability of language use. (shrink)
A venerable philosophical tradition claims that only language users possess concepts. But this makes conceptual thought out to be an implausibly rarified achievement. A more recent tradition, based in cognitive science, maintains that any creature who can systematically recombine its representational capacities thereby deploys concepts. But this makes conceptual thought implausibly widespread. I argue for a middle ground: it is sufficient for conceptual thought that one be able to entertain many of the thoughts produced by recombining one’s representational capacities, so (...) long as one can do this apart from a direct confrontation with the represented states of affairs. (shrink)
Nearly everyone shares the intuition that sarcasm or verbal irony1 is a use of language in which speaker meaning and sentence meaning come apart. Two millennia ago, Quintilian defined irony as speech in which “we understand something which is the opposite of what is actually said.”2 More recently, Josef Stern sharply distinguishes metaphor, which he argues is semantic, from irony: in the latter case, he says, we are not “even tempted to posit an ironic meaning in the utterance in addition (...) to the ordinary literal meanings of the words used.”3 Indeed, sarcasm is frequently cited as a paradigm case of pragmatic meaning. (shrink)
Prop oriented make-believe is make-believe utilized for the purpose of understanding what I call “props,” actual objects or states of affairs that make propositions “fictional,” true in the make-believe world. I, David Hills, and others have claimed that prop oriented make-believe lies at the heart of the functioning of many metaphors, and one variety of fictionalism in metaphysics invokes prop oriented make-believe to explain away apparent references to entities some find questionable or problematic (fictional characters, propositions, moral properties, numbers). (...) class='Hi'>ElisabethCamp has argued against my and David Hills’ views of metaphor. Her arguments, many of them echoed by Catharine Wearing, demolish a very implausible account of metaphor, but leave entirely untouched the views that Hills and I actually proposed. Clarifying what we say about metaphor serves also as a defense of fictionalist theories that invoke prop oriented make-believe. (shrink)
Öz:Bu yazıda ElisabethCamp'in metafor kuramını eleştireceğim. Bu kurama göre metaforik anlam metaforik olarak kullanılan terimin işaret ettiği şeyin karakterizasyonunun bir başka şeyin karakterizasyonu ile etkileşimi yoluyla ortaya çıkar. Bu etkileşim beraberinde metaforun önemli bilişsel özelliklerinden biri olan olarak-görme etkisini zorunlu olarak getirir. Ben bu kuramın açıklamaya çalıştığı dilsel olguyu gereksiz yere karmaşıklaştırdığını savunacağım. Söz konusu olgu etkileşime gerek olmadan da açıklanabilir. Camp'in tersine, olarak-görme etkisinin metafor için özsel olmadığını savunacağım. Bunların yanı sıra Camp'in metafor kuramının (...) kimi değillenmiş metafor kullanımlarını açıklayamadığını göstermeye çalışacağım. Abstract:In this paper, I will criticise ElisabethCamp's theory of metaphor. According tothis theory, the metaphorical meaning arises from the interaction of the characterization of the thing which the metaphorically used term indicates with the characterization of another thing. The interaction forces outone of the most important cognitive features of metaphor, the seeing-as effect. I will argue that this theory unnecessarily complicates the linguistic phenomenon it tries to explain, and that the phenomenon in question couldbe explained without the need for interaction. Contrary toCamp, I will try to show that the seeing-as effect is not essential for metaphor. I will also try to demonstratethat Camp's theory of metaphor fails to explain some uses of negated metaphors. (shrink)
This volume collects articles of the late philosopher Tamara Horowitz. It includes four previously published and two unpublished articles. Though she had wide-ranging interests during her career, Horowitz was mostly concerned with what can be known as priori. She argued against too much confidence in philosophical intuition and argued for a more naturalist, scientific approach. Joseph Camp includes an editor's introduction to the collection of this important philosopher.
Power and authority in terms of the Ten Commandments (TCs) are discussed. The paper reviews the TCs in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The treatment and basis for power and authority in each religion are clarified. Implications of power and authority using the perspective of the TCs are provided. The paper suggests that in today's business environment people tend to be selective in identifying only with certain elements of the TCs that fit their interest and that the TCs should be viewed (...) as general moral guidelines. (shrink)
Before there was the digital divide there was the analog divide– and universal service was the attempt to close that analogdivide. Universal service is becoming ever more complex in terms ofregulatory design as it becomes the digital divide. In order to evaluatethe promise of the next generation Internet with respect to the digitaldivide this work looks backwards as well as forwards in time. Byevaluating why previous universal service mechanisms failed andsucceeded this work identifies specific characteristics ofcommunications systems – in particular (...) in billing and managinguncertainty – and argues that these characteristics underliesuccess or failure in terms of technological ubiquity. Developing a setof characteristics of services rather than a set of services is afundamental break with the tradition of universal service. In fact, theimplications of our proposal is that basic characteristics in theoffering of the service rather than the absolute price are critical toclose the digital divide: certainty of total charge, ability to avoiddeposits or disconnection via best effort service, and payer-basedcontrol of all charges. While all of these principles sound obvious infact none of these hold in the telephony network. Universal service hasevolved from common carriage (serve all with no discrimination) to aright to basic services (100% penetration). Universal service isnow discussed as the digital divide, as the access to information asopposed to services becomes increasingly critical. However, we arediscussing in this paper access to the bits and the network rather thanaccess to the information (or intellectual property) once connected. Theprovision of universal service is seen as a technical problem only in thatthe technology costs money – universal service debates have longbeen the domain of economists. Yet the design of protocols has been thedomain of engineers, the building of systems the corporate domain, andthe discussion of equity the interest of ethicists. The design ofprotocols can define the parameters of the corporate decision-makers,the variables of the economist, and the questions for the ethicist. Thedesign decisions made at the fundamental levels can make communicationsequity more or less likely. In this work I focus on the design ofprotocols for the next generation Internet, protocols which willfundamentally change the best-effort nature of Internet services.Building on the economic and ethnographic work of others I argue thatthe effects of protocols adoption on universal service can be predictedto some degree. By examination of past and current technologies Iexamine a set of technical mechanisms to determine how such mechanismsmight harm or enhance universal service. I define each mechanism (e.g.denial of entry) and offer observations about each particularmechanism''s implicit pricing assumptions. I close with a discussion ofinterest to ethicists and regulators on evaluating communicationsprotocols with respect to universal access. Protocols for developingmultiple qualities of service for packet-switched networks have focusedon economic efficiency (e.g. Mackie-Mason, 1995; Choi, Stahl &Winston, 1997; Shapiro & Varian, 1998), billing to encouragewidespread adoption of network innovations (e.g. Xie & Sirbu, 1985)and billing in a manner consistent with the underlying network (e.g.Clark, 1996). Here we examine a set of protocols which include varyingquality of service mechanisms with respect to the compatibility of theprotocols with universal access. (shrink)
I identify issues of philosophical concern in Eldred v. Ashcroft, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on copyright extension, and encourage the participation of philosophers in these public policy debates. Philosophers have contributions to make to the dialogue not captured exclusively by the technical and often narrow legal debate in the courts.
Janssen argues that special relativity is preferable to Lorentzian dynamics due to its kinematic structure. Brown, along with others, raises an objection, arguing that a dynamical understanding of special relativity is explanatorily prior and hence more fundamental than the principle theory-based kinematic structure of Minkowski spacetime. This paper challenges this objection, arguing that both Janssen and Brown miss the essential aspect of the principles of special relativity which underwrite its interpretational success. It is not its kinematic structure, but the constitutive (...) nature of the principles it employs, by providing a coherent conceptual framework, which does the foundational work. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to address the question of whethercomputer source code is speech protected by the First Amendmentto the United States Constitution or whether it is merelyfunctional, a ``machine'', designed to fulfill a set task andtherefore bereft of protection. The answer to this question is acomplex one. Unlike all other forms of ``speech'' computer sourcecode holds a unique place in the law: it can be copyrighted, likea book and it can be patented like a machine or process.Case (...) law, intellectual property law and encryption exportregulations all reflect this contradictory dichotomy. (shrink)