•  179
    Metaphor, Idiom, and Pretense
    Noûs 46 (3): 499-524. 2012.
    Imaginative and creative capacities seem to be at the heart of both games of make-believe and figurative uses of language. But how exactly might cases of metaphor or idiom involve make-believe? In this paper, I argue against the pretense-based accounts of Walton (1990, 1993), Hills (1997), and Egan (this journal, 2008) that pretense plays no role in the interpretation of metaphor or idiom; instead, more general capacities for manipulating concepts (which are also called on within the use of pret…Read more
  •  176
    Metaphor and what is said
    Mind and Language 21 (3). 2006.
    In this paper, I argue for an account of metaphorical content as what is said when a speaker utters a metaphor. First, I show that two other possibilities—the Gricean account of metaphor as implicature and the strictly semantic account developed by Josef Stern—face several serious problems. In their place, I propose an account that takes metaphorical content to cross-cut the semantic-pragmatic distinction. This requires re-thinking the notion of metaphorical content, as well as the relation betw…Read more
  •  142
    Autism, metaphor and relevance theory
    Mind and Language 25 (2): 196-216. 2010.
    The pattern of impairments exhibited by some individuals on the autism spectrum appears to challenge the relevance-theoretic account of metaphor ( Carston, 1996, 2002 ; Sperber and Wilson, 2002 ; Sperber and Wilson, 2008 ). A subset of people on the autism spectrum have near-normal syntactic, phonological, and semantic abilities while having severe difficulties with the interpretation of metaphor, irony, conversational implicature, and other pragmatic phenomena. However, Relevance Theory treats …Read more
  •  33
    Review of Samuel Guttenplan, Objects of Metaphor (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2006 (9). 2006.
  •  32
    In standard Relevance Theory, hyperbole and metaphor are categorized together as loose uses of language, on a continuum with approximations, category extensions and other cases of loosening/broadening of meaning. Specifically, it is claimed that there are no interesting differences between hyperbolic and metaphorical uses. In recent work, we have set out to provide a more fine-grained articulation of the similarities and differences between hyperbolic and metaphorical uses and their relation to …Read more
  •  6
    Semantics and Pragmatics in the Interpretation of Metaphor
    Dissertation, Harvard University. 2002.
    This dissertation examines how the distinction between what is said and what is implicated should be applied to metaphorical language. I claim that metaphor has been incorrectly held to belong to the domain of pragmatics---what is implicated by an utterance---and I argue that metaphorical interpretations can and should be regarded as constituting what is said. ;The first two chapters develop the case against two implicature accounts of metaphor: Grice's account of metaphor as conversational impl…Read more
  • Relevance Theory: Pragmatics and Cognition
    WIREs Cognitive Science 6 87-95. 2015.
    Relevance Theory is a cognitively oriented theory of pragmatics, i.e., a theory of language use. It builds on the seminal work of H.P. Grice1 to develop a pragmatic theory which is at once philosophically sensitive and empirically plausible (in both psychological and evolutionary terms). This entry reviews the central commitments and chief contributions of Relevance Theory, including its Gricean commitment to the centrality of intention-reading and inference in communication; the cognitively gro…Read more