An Interlude concerning Context: A Relational Theory of Meaning


in Metaphor

Published in print January 1990 | ISBN: 9780198242468
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680472 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

An Interlude concerning Context: A Relational Theory of Meaning

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Some aspects of language meaning as well as aspects of language use, are at work in people’s comprehension and production of metaphor. This chapter argues that both word and sentence meaning depend on context in systematic and rule-governed ways. But if a theory of meaning is to be a theory of understanding, then all these dependences cannot be bracketed and cannot consider meaning being context-free. The ways in which words and sentences depend on contextual considerations are crucial to what is understood when meaning is understood, whatever that meaning may be. Another assertion is that metaphors serve to intimate similarities and as such, they become one of the endless devices that people use to draw attention to similarities in things.

Keywords: language meaning; comprehension; metaphor; theory of understanding; similarities; relational theory; literal language

Chapter.  18380 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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