Elisa Caldarola
University of Venice
A caricature can reveal an aspect of its subject that a more faithful representation would fail to render: by depicting a slow and clumsy person as a monkey one can point out such qualities of the depicted subject, and by depicting a person with quite big ears as a person with enormous ears one can point out that the depicted person has rather big ears. How can a form of representation that is by definition inaccurate be so representationally powerful? Figurative language raises a similar puzzle. Metaphors, taken at face value, are usually false: men are not wolves. The same goes for hyperbolic talk: Putnam did not change his position one billion times in his career. Still, figurative language is expressively powerful: by saying that human beings are wolves or that Putnam changed his position one billion times in his career one conveys, in a very vivid way, some true information about the world (something concerning the facts that human beings are cruel and that Putnam frequently changed opinion). Kendall Walton (1993) provides an elegant explanation of the expressive utility of figurative language by linking metaphor and prop oriented make-believe. We explore the hypothesis that the theory of prop oriented make-believe can also explain the representational efficacy of caricatures.
Keywords Caricature  Prop Oriented Make-Believe  Kendall Walton  Metaphor  Depiction
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DOI 10.3998/ergo.12405314.0003.015
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