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Argumentation

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 453–488 | Cite as

Reconstructing Metaphorical Meaning

  • Fabrizio Macagno
  • Benedetta Zavatta
Article

Abstract

Metaphorical meaning can be analyzed as triggered by an apparent communicative breach, an incongruity that leads to a default of the presumptive interpretation of a vehicle. This breach can be solved through contextual renegotiations of meaning guided by the communicative intention, or rather the presumed purpose of the metaphorical utterance. This paper addresses the problem of analyzing the complex process of reasoning underlying the reconstruction of metaphorical meaning. This process will be described as a type of abductive argument, aimed at explaining how the vehicle can best contribute to the purpose of the utterance. This type of reasoning involves the analysis of the possible predicates that can be and usually are attributed to the vehicle, and the selection of the one (or ones) that can support the implicit conclusion constituting the communicative goal of the metaphorical utterance. Metaphorical meaning, in this perspective, becomes the outcome of a complex process of meaning reconstruction aimed at providing the best explanation of the function of the vehicle within a discourse move.

Keywords

Metaphor Relevance Interpretation Pragmatics Argumentation Argumentation schemes 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the Fundação para a Ciência ea Tecnologia for the research grant on Argumentation, Communication and Context (PTDC/FIL–FIL/110117/2009) and the anonymous reviewers for their useful and thorough comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Philosophy of Language (IFL)Universidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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