Goodman’s Metaphorical Exemplification

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 343)


Is the painting sad in the same way it is grey? No, Goodman explains that the extension of the class of grey things includes that painting, but the extension of the class of sad things does not, literally, include that painting. Metaphor is analyzed functionally and is not dependent on a realm of inner mental or emotional states: the object both literally possesses some properties and it metaphorically exemplifies other properties. But Goodmanian metaphor must also include the concomitant feature of exemplification, for expression cannot be explained as converse denotation without the notion of exemplification, as it is exemplification that presupposes symbolization, and hence, it is that that provides the basis of Goodman’s expression. Exemplification is possession plus reference. Thus through metaphorical exemplification, the picture refers to sadness. The picture is an instance of representation and denotation, and it is also an instance of exemplification and expression. This instantiation is not an ontological relation, but a semantic or conventional one; unlike a metaphysical realist’s account, the individual object is not instantiating a universal. This is Goodman’s swatch: a relation between two particulars, and not a relation between two separate ontological kinds.


Symbol System Ontological Relation Previous Usage Notational System Concomitant Feature 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BrooklynUSA

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