Philosophy of Science 51 (4):595-615 (1984)

The purpose of this paper is to explore the semantics of metaphoric language in scientific contexts. According to the theory of metaphor advanced below, the benchmark of a metaphoric expression is the implicit transfer of semantic features across incongruous semantic fields. This transfer results in a conceptual variation of "meaning" in the receiving semantic field. Thus, the theory of metaphor rests on semantic field theory. Existing semantic approaches to metaphor are evaluated in Section 1. In Sections 2 and 3 an alternative theory is introduced through an analysis of the mechanics of the feature transfer process followed by a discussion of some methodological cues for deciphering the metaphor's "meaning." As I explore in Section 4, this theory of metaphor explains how all metaphoric expressions are potentially literal depending on the general compliance of the community of speakers. Consequently, concept formation in scientific contexts is, in large measure, metaphoric. Finally, I argue in Section 5 that metaphoric concept formation is an essential aspect of scientific reasoning for the purpose of solving conceptual problems
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DOI 10.1086/289207
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References found in this work BETA

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):278-279.
Features of Similarity.Amos Tversky - 1977 - Psychological Review 84 (4):327-352.
Models and Analogies in Science.Mary B. Hesse - 1966 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 3 (3):190-191.
The River of Time.J. J. C. Smart - 1949 - Mind 58 (232):483-494.

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Citations of this work BETA

Structural Analogies Between Physical Systems.Peter Kroes - 1989 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 40 (2):145-154.
Towards a Metaphorical Biology.R. C. Paton - 1992 - Biology and Philosophy 7 (3):279-294.
Feminist Philosophy of Science1.Lynn Hankinson Nelson - 2002 - In Peter Machamer Michael Silberstein (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Science. Blackwell. pp. 312.
Framework for a Taxonomy of Scientific Metaphor.Elaine Botha - 1988 - Philosophia Reformata 53 (2):143-170.

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