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The Critical Imagination$
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James Grant

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199661794

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199661794.001.0001

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Metaphor and Likeness

Metaphor and Likeness

(p.87) 4 Metaphor and Likeness
The Critical Imagination

James Grant

Oxford University Press

This chapter defends a claim about what metaphors communicate and how we understand them. This claim is called ‘the Minimal Thesis’. If the Minimal Thesis is right, then, contrary to what many philosophers working on metaphor today believe, similarity always plays a certain role in determining what is communicated with metaphor and in enabling us to grasp it. The Minimal Thesis resembles, but is not, the claim that metaphors are comparisons or abbreviated similes. The chapter contains a refutation of the comparison theory of metaphor. It then defends the Minimal Thesis against twelve objections, presented by Donald Davidson, John Searle, William Lycan, Robert Fogelin, Richard Moran, Samuel Guttenplan, and others. It concludes with a discussion of some of the facts about metaphor that the Minimal Thesis enables us to explain.

Keywords:   metaphor, similarity, non-literal, simile, comparison, davidson, searle, metaphor comprehension

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