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Metaphor and Moral Experience$
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A. E. Denham

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198240105

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240105.001.0001

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Identifying Metaphor

Identifying Metaphor

(p.229) 7 Identifying Metaphor
Metaphor and Moral Experience

A. E. Denham

Oxford University Press

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

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