Chapter

The Semantic Descent Account

Samuel Guttenplan

in Objects of Metaphor

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780199280896
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602627 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199280894.003.0004
The Semantic Descent Account

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The notion of semantic descent made familiar by Quine is extended to a movement from the first-floor level of language use to the level of objects that language typically describes; descent here is to a basement level. The idea of such a descent is combined with the idea of qualification to produce what is called the ‘Semantic Descent’ account of metaphor. According to this account, metaphor first requires semantic descent to a level of (appropriate) non-linguistic objects, and these objects then fulfill the predicative function described as qualification. The account is presented in a relatively minimalist way, to show how it copes with the features of metaphor discussed in Chapter 1, as well as provide a clear view of the obvious objections that might be raised against it. The latter centrally includes the fear that the use of objects as qualifiers might be too indeterminate. This is countered with a discussion of a notion called ‘attunement’.

Keywords: W.V.O. Quine; qualification; attunement; indeterminacy; semantic descent

Chapter.  35443 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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