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Learning from Metaphor Mitch Green Go Figure Workshop June, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Learning from Metaphor Mitch Green Go Figure Workshop June, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Learning from Metaphor Mitch Green Go Figure Workshop June, 2013

2 overview 1. Verbal v. non-verbal metaphors 2. Image and affect 3. A Davidsonic alternative 4. Ways of showing and ways of meaning 5. Self-expression through metaphor 6. Metaphor as sui generis? 7. Metaphor and empathy 8. Metaphorical banter 9. Categorical incorrectness

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12 Expressing oneself Three types of introspectible state Showing versus expressing Showing versus meaning Self-expression as designedly showing an introspectible state. (One not in the putatively expressed state, while purporting to express it, still does something expressive of that type of state.) Eliott’s “objective correlative”

13 Metaphor as sui generis? “This distinct aspect of metaphorical thinking comes from this perspective taking, which is not something that automatically follows from any independent principles of pragmatic reasoning.” “In short, the Davidsonian approach to metaphor has a lot to recommend it; here’s what it boils down to. Rather than saying there is a speaker meaning that derives an interpretation for a metaphor in the ordinary way, we say something radically different. We say the metaphor has its own cognitive mechanism, a distinctive cognitive mechanism that you apply to metaphor and only for metaphor, where you use your knowledge of one domain to put a perspective on something else.”

14 Metaphor and empathy

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16 Metaphorical banter I can challenge your metaphor with another one, which I implicitly put forward as more apt. Such disputes can sometimes reach agreement, suggesting an intersubjective handle on metaphorical “truth”. After some progress, we can go from your use of a metaphor which only shows me how your feel about something, to use of a metaphor showing how it is appropriate for us to feel about it.

17 Categorical incorrectness If the point of a metaphorical utterance is expressive, then any category mistakes committed may be beside the point. What matters is whether the image conjured is a natural expression of the speaker’s affective state.

18 Summing up Much verbal metaphor gains its power from imagery; such images are often somatically marked. We can make sense of much metaphorical communication without taking them to be forms of literal or speaker meaning. Davidson/Lepore/Stone are on right track in suggesting that metaphors enable speakers to prompt hearers to do things; but this does not make those promptings or doings part of what the metaphorist means. We can refine this with the notion of expressive behavior. We still have room for banter about the aptness of metaphors. We can make sense of metaphor as elicitors or empathy. Catetorical incorrectness now appears a non-issue.


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