The demarcation of metaphor

Abstract

There are three major issues which crop up in the discussion of metaphor among philosophers of language. They are: whether metaphor is cognitive, whether it is descriptive, and whether it is innovative. Those who deny that metaphor is cognitive are a group more often imagined than encountered, but if they existed they would consign the study of metaphor to affective stylistics, stressing the ornamentative and related effects which the phenomenon is likely to have.‘ Those who admit that metaphor is cognitive and go on to reject the idea that it is descriptive also assign the study of metaphor to stylistics, but stylistics with a cognitive emphasis. What is primarily to be studied in their view is not any descriptive content but the effects which metaphor has in drawing certain things to the attention of an audience and in changing thereby the audience’s general point of view.

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Philip Pettit
Australian National University

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