Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), an approach to human thought and language that 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 seventh-century c.e. 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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pp. 395-423
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