How to say What Cannot be Said: Metaphor in the Zhuangzi

Journal of Chinese Philosophy 41 (3-4):268-286 (2014)
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I argue that it is only on the condition of a preconceptual understanding that Zhuangzi's metaphors can be cognitive. Kim-chong Chong holds that the choice between metaphors as noncognitive and cognitive is a choice between Allinson and Davidson. Chong's view of metaphors possessing multivalence is reducible to Davidson's choice, because there is no built-in parameter between multivalence and limitless valence. If Zhuangzi's metaphors were multivalent, the text would be subject to infinite interpretive viewpoints and the logical consequence of relativism. It is only if metaphors are cognitive that the text of the Zhuangzi can convey the message of transcendent freedom.

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Robert E. Allinson
Soka University


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