Publication details [#14357]

Keating, Malcolm. 2019. Metaphor or Delusion? A Mīmāṃsaka’s Response to Conceptual Metaphor Theory. Philosophy East and West : 1–41. 41 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
University of Hawai'i Press


Lakoff and Johnson (1980) presented an approach to the study of human thought and language where metaphor is not a figure of speech but of thought. This perspective implied that most of our concepts are metaphorically understood. In this work, we draw on Kumārila Bhaṭṭa’s discussion of language in the Tantravārttika and Ślokavārttika, a 7th century CE Mīmāṃsā philosopher, and state that: 1) the philosopher’s arguments against an opponent are a prelude to contemporary criticisms of CMT, in particular that it is difficult to believe or even contradictory; 2) we must be careful with some CMT’s claims if these arguments are powerful, and 3) since indigenous people reflected on metaphors and they were part of the Indian philosophy, we think more philosophical work focused on philosophical questions and methodology is necessary.