Ironic Metaphor Interpretation

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Abstract
This paper examines the mechanisms involved in the interpretation of utterances that are both metaphorical and ironical. For example, when uttering 'He's a real number-cruncher' about a total illiterate in maths, the speaker uses a metaphor with an ironic intent. I argue that in such cases both logically and psychologically, the metaphor is prior to irony. I hold that the phenomenon is then one of ironic metaphor, which puts a metaphorical meaning to ironic use, rather than an irony used metaphorically (§1). This result is then used to argue for the claim that in metaphor, it is metaphorical, not literal, meaning that determines the utterance‘s truth conditions. Gricean accounts, which exclude metaphorical meaning from truth conditional content and rely entirely on conversational implicature, are seen to be unsatisfactory. Five contextualist arguments are briefly discussed to the conclusion that metaphorical content is part of truth-conditional content, rather than implicated (§2).
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Archival date: 2016-10-23
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2016-10-23

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