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Abstract

Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), an approach to human thought and language which began with the work of Lakoff and Johnson (1980), claims that metaphor is not merely a linguistic phenomenon, but is implicated in structuring human thought. This view has significant implications, including that nearly all human concepts are understood metaphorically. Drawing on the 7th century CE Mīmāṃsā philosopher Kumārila Bhaṭṭa’s discussion of language in the Tantravārttika and Ślokavārttika, I argue for three claims: (1) Kumārila's arguments against an opponent anticipate contemporary criticisms of CMT, in particular that it is at best implausible, and at worst internally inconsistent; (2) if these arguments have force, there is reason to be cautious about some of CMT's claims; and (3) given that Indian philosophy has its own indigeneous reflections on metaphor, more philosophical work on these theories is a desideratum both in terms of first-order philosophical questions and methodology.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1898
Print ISSN
0031-8221
Launched on MUSE
2019-03-15
Open Access
No
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