The Logic of Metaphor

Analogous Parts of Possible Worlds

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Steinhart, E. (2001) The Logic of Metaphor: Analogous Parts of Possible Worlds . Synthese Library Vol. 299. ISBN 0-7923-7004-X. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

I've just published a book, The Logic of Metaphor, that links metaphors with metaphysics by way of possible worlds semantics. The idea is that possible worlds have parts and that metaphors are made true by analogies between the parts of possible worlds. The Logic of Metaphor uses techniques from possible worlds semantics to provide formal truth-conditions for many grammatical classes of metaphors. It gives logically precise and practically useful syntactic and semantic rules for generating and interpreting metaphors. These rules are implemented in a working computer program. One big advantage of my approach is that it has lots of data: many real texts that involve metaphors and many examples of many different syntactic and semantic kinds of metaphors. The Logic of Metaphor treats the lexicon as a conceptual network with semantics provided by an intensional predicate calculus. It gives rules for finding analogies in such networks. It shows how to syntactically and semantically analyze texts containing metaphors and how to use structural similarities between parts of possible worlds to provide truth-conditions for metaphors. Meanings for metaphors are linked to the modal logics of identity and indiscernibility. The Logic of Metaphor shows how to extend deductive and abductive inference systems to handle metaphors. It shows how to handle novel metaphorical word-senses. The Logic of Metaphor will be useful to philosophers, logicians, linguists, and computer scientists.