Publication details [#9844]

Searle, John R. 1993. Metaphor. In Gibbs, Raymond W., Jr. Metaphor and thought: The state of the art. In : 3–16. : 83–111. 29 pp.
Publication type
Article in book  
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Cambridge , UK: Cambridge University Press


In his well-known essay 'Metaphor', John Searle criticizes scholars who, when studying metaphors, take for granted the nature and the functioning of the literal meaning. In Searle's opinion, there is no semantic difference between metaphoric expressions and literal ones, because "sentence and words have only the meanings that they have... Metaphorical meaning is always speaker's utterance meaning" [p.84]. The problem is that they frequently muddle up sentence meaning (i.e. their truth conditions) with the comprehension strategies. In fact, Searle defines metaphor as a speech act in which you say one thing to mean something else, and specifies nine principles "according to which the utterance of P can call to mind the meaning R in ways that are peculiar to metaphor" [p.104]. (Elisabetta Gola)