Publication details [#642]

Wearing, Catherine. 2012. Metaphor, Idiom, and Pretense. Nous 46 (3) : 499–524. 26 pp.
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In this paper, the author challenges the view according to which pretense plays a systematic role in the understanding of figurative language, such as metaphor and idiom. The pretense-based view has been defended by Walton (1990, 1993) and Hills (1997) for the case of metaphor, and by Egan (2008) for the case of idiom: all these scholars maintain that pretense, or at least the recognition of an implied game of make-believe, play a key role in figurative language comprehension. Against this position, Wearing argues that pretense does not play any fundamental role in the understanding of metaphors or idioms. In both cases, more minimal assumptions are sufficient to explain the interpretative process, and in the case of metaphor, in particular, resorting to pretense may even be misleading: the real explanatory work is done by other, more general capacities for manipulating concepts.