Article published in:Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch für Antike und Mittelalter: Band 22
Herausgegeben von Manuel Baumbach und Olaf Pluta
[Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch für Antike und Mittelalter 22] 2019
► pp. 136–167
Metaphor and mental language in late-medieval nominalism
In this paper, I intend to examine the conception of metaphor developed by fourteenth-century nominalist philosophers, in particular William of Ockham and John Buridan, but also the Ockhamist philosophers who were condemned by the 1340 statute of the faculty of arts of the University of Paris. According to these philosophers, metaphor is a transfer of meaning from one word to another. This transfer is based on some similarity, and is intentionally produced by a speaker. My aim is to study whether this view on metaphor is related to a specific view on the relation between thought, language, and communication. With this case study, I intend to argue that the view on the nature of thought one holds does not necessarily determine what the nature and function of metaphor are. I will show that the three philosophical doctrines under study diverge in their understanding of the mechanisms of a metaphor, while they share the same view on the nature of thought, namely that thought is a mental language.
Published online: 27 August 2020