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Davidson’s Phenomenological Argument Against the Cognitive Claims of Metaphor

  • Richmond KwesiEmail author
Original Paper


In this paper, I take a critical look at the Davidsonian argument that metaphorical sentences do not express propositions because of the phenomenological experience—seeing one thing as another thing—involved in understanding them as metaphors. According to Davidson, seeing-as is not seeing-that. This verdict is aimed at dislodging metaphor from the position of being assessed with the semantic notions of propositions, meaning, and truth. I will argue that the phenomenological or perceptual experience associated with metaphors does not determine the propositional contentfulness or truth-evaluability of metaphors. Truth-evaluability is not inconsistent but compatible with a perceptual model for metaphors. I argue for this partly by showing that seeing-as does not constitute understanding of metaphors when understanding is appropriately construed in terms of being able to use an expression.


Propositions Metaphor Truth Seeing-as Understanding Davidson Cognitive 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and ClassicsUniversity of GhanaAccraGhana

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