Who's Afraid of a Paraphrase?
This essay focuses on the interpretation of metaphors. It argues that metaphors, however much their force or imagery outstrips their semantic content, in fact usually possess relatively definite meanings, meanings which deserve the label of ‘metaphorical’, and which paraphrases can to a large extent express. The key to the stance on metaphors adopted is the conception of them asutterancesin specific linguistic contexts, which acquire meanings in such contexts despite there being no rules of a semantic sort for the projection of such meanings. Examples of metaphors from both literary and non-literary contexts are examined. The conception of literary meaning as centrally a species ofutterance meaningis the foundation stone of the view of literary interpretation dubbed ‘hypothetical intentionalism’.
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