The Creation of Similarity: A Discussion of Metaphor in Light of Tversky's Theory of Similarity

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:394 - 405 (1982)
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Abstract

The cognitive gain in the use of metaphor and simile is nicely elucidated by Tversky's theory of similarity. The features of the theory which are of special importance are the directionality and context-dependency of similarity judgments. These indicate the extent to which such judgments are classificatory and that similarity is not only the cause of an object's classification but is also a derivative of groupings. Metaphor and simile exploit certain cognitive features involved in the relation between classification, context and similarity judgments so as to make possible the creation of similarity, which, from a conceptual standpoint, is the prime motivation for metaphor.

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Eva Kittay
State University of New York, Stony Brook

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