Ideas from 'What Metaphors Mean' by Donald Davidson [1978], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (2nd ed)' by Davidson,Donald [OUP 2001,0-19-924629-7]].

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19. Language / F. Communication / 6. Interpreting Language / d. Metaphor
We accept a metaphor when we see the sentence is false
                        Full Idea: It is only when a sentence is taken to be false that we accept it as a metaphor.
                        From: Donald Davidson (What Metaphors Mean [1978], p.40)
                        A reaction: This strikes me as a very nice and true generalisation, even though Davidson mentions "no man is an island" as a counterexample. We thirst for meaning, and switch to a second meaning when the first one looks peculiar.
Metaphors just mean what their words literally mean
                        Full Idea: Metaphors mean what the words, in their most literal interpretation, mean, and nothing more.
                        From: Donald Davidson (What Metaphors Mean [1978], p.30)
                        A reaction: This pronouncement must be the result of Davidson anguishing over the truth conditions for metaphors, which are usually either taken to have a 'metaphorical meaning', or to be abbreviated similes. He solved his problem at a stroke! Plausible.
Understanding a metaphor is a creative act, with no rules
                        Full Idea: Understanding a metaphor is as much a creative endeavour as making a metaphor, and as little guided by rules.
                        From: Donald Davidson (What Metaphors Mean [1978], p.29)
                        A reaction: This is good news for literature studies courses. Davidson's point is that the metaphor itself only gives you a literal meaning, so it doesn't tell you how to interpret it. It seems an attractive proposal.