Publication details [#5463]

Haack, Susan. 1994. Dry truth and real knowledge: Epistemologies of metaphor and metaphors of epistemology. In Hintikka, Jaakko. Aspects of Metaphor (Synthese Library 238). Dordrecht: Kluwer. pp. 1–22. 22 pp.
Publication type
Article in book  
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Dordrecht: Kluwer


Susan Haack first looks at different theories about figurative language: Locke claims that the use of metaphor is not always in the service of vividness. For Hobbes to use words metaphorically is an abuse of speech. Mill speaks of 'fallacies of equivocation'. These three authors have a very hostile attitude towards figurative language. Today, many writers claim that metaphor plays an essential role in theoretical inquiry. In the second chapter, she looks at how metaphor works, what are its dangers and what is its usefulness. Metaphors are elliptical similes. A simile is a grammatically explicit way of expression whereas a metaphor is implicit. Ordinary statements of comparison with which metaphors have an affinity are those which are unspecific and context-dependent. With metaphor things compared are unlike each other, the comparison is incongruous and to figure out the respects of likeness calls for an imaginative twist. Haack looks critically at some theories about metaphor: Searle focusses on the speaker's intention and for Davidson the reader plays an important role. For Haack metaphor is an interactive phenomenon between speaker and hearer. In the third chapter Haack focusses on the cognitive role of metaphor as language and thought are interdependent. In the fourth chapter she describes the relation of language to thought and revises the dichotomy of the context of discovery vs. context of justification. (Sabine De Knop)