Identifying Metaphor

A. E. Denham

in Metaphor and Moral Experience

Published in print July 2000 | ISBN: 9780198240105
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680076 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

Identifying Metaphor

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The reliability of one's moral judgements depends on his/her ability to conceive of others' inner lives sympathetically, where sympathy is a matter of appreciating others' thought and experience as from their own point of view, and doing so in a way which features, in varying degrees, not only the content but the phenomenology of their relevant psychological states. This chapter examines whether metaphors have cognitive significance — that is, whether they are properly assessed as true or false, and whether they can stand as proper objects of knowledge. It argues that a metaphor often expresses cognitively significant judgements, and that many metaphors are ‘conceptually autonomous’ in the sense that their truth conditions cannot be expressed in non-figurative terms. It also explains why figurative language has played a prominent role in the cultivation and articulation of normative judgements.

Keywords: metaphor; moral judgements; truth; figurative language; cognitive significance

Chapter.  7672 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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