Objects of Metaphor contains a philosophical account of the phenomenon of metaphor radically different from those currently on offer. Yet for all that it is different, the underlying rationale of the account is genuinely ecumenical. If one adopts its perspective, one should be able to see how substantially correct many other accounts are, whilst at the same time seeing why they are not in the end completely correct. The book opens with a transparent classification of types of account, and concludes with detailed discussions of three important recent contributions to the subject. The origins of the account lie in our conception of predication. Unreflectively thought of as a task accomplished by words, it is argued that predication, or something very much like it, can also be accomplished by objects. So understood, predication becomes the genuinely equal partner of reference - a function no one doubts can be as easily accomplished by objects as by words - and, liberated in this way, predication becomes one central element in the account of metaphor. The other element is the move from language to objects which, adapting an idea of Quine's, is thought of as semantic descent.
Whilst Samuel Guttenplan's account allows us to see other accounts in a new light, its main importance lies in what it tells us about metaphor itself. Powerful and flexible enough to cope with the syntactic complexity typical of genuine metaphor, it offers novel conceptions of both the relationship between simile and metaphor and the notion of dead metaphor. Additionally, it allows us to see why metaphor is a robust theoretic kind, related to certain other tropes, but not to be confused with tropes generally, or with the figurative and non-literal. Metaphor has often been thought merely an ornament to language. Whilst acknowledging the truth in this thought, Guttenplan shows the fundamental importance of metaphor to language. Rather than being a specialist topic in philosophy and related disciplines, he thus suggests that the study of metaphor is central to the study of language.
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(234mm x 142mm x 18mm)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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