The Standard Criticisms of Comparativism

Robert J. Fogelin

in Figuratively Speaking

Second edition

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199739998
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895045 | DOI:
The Standard Criticisms of Comparativism

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There has been almost universal agreement that Aristotle's so-called reduction of metaphors to similes is hopelessly inadequate. The philosophers who have lined up against Aristotle are an impressive group of leading philosophers, including Max Black, John Searle, Nelson Goodman, and Donald Davidson. Their criticisms are examined in close detail and rejected. At bottom, they all seem to turn on the same mistake, namely, that Aristotle's treatment of metaphors as elliptical similes amounts to reducing metaphors to literal comparisons when, in fact, Aristotle holds that similes are themselves figurative. The chapter takes over Tversky's account of the relationship between literal and figurative comparisons, taking the notion of salience as central.

Keywords: Max Black; John Searle; Nelson Goodman; Donald Davidson; Amos Tversky; salience; reversibility

Chapter.  10144 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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