Truth and Metaphor - A presentation and discussion of two theories on how metaphors can be true

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Teoretisk filosofi

Sammanfattning: Metaphor is the most commonly discussed form of figurative language, and can most simply be presented as statements describing one thing as another. This paper is concerned with the issue of in what sense a metaphor can be said to be true. It outlines the main features of two different theories of metaphor: Donald Davidson’s account of metaphor as presented in the article ”What metaphors mean” (1978), and The Contemporary theory of metaphor, accompanied by an Experientialist theory of truth, mainly as it appears in Metaphors we live by (1980) by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Davidson claims that metaphorical sentences are always false and have no additional meaning or truth, but that the non-propositional insight the metaphor inspires can be true. The contemporary theory provides an account of metaphor which argues that what we recover from a metaphorical expression are structural mappings of one domain as another, grounded in experience. Arguments are offered in favour of explaining the non-propositional insights encountered in Davidson as mappings of this kind. Finally, a discussion is held on the possibility of explaining how the insights can be true, within the frames of an experientialist account of truth. It is concluded that while this is possible, it requires giving up some of the stronger claims made by Lakoff and Johnson.

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