Dead Metaphor Analysis

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Besides, the now-semantic meaning of a dead metaphor passes the cancellability test. For example, in the case of “incense”, it is incoherent to say: “The boy knows how to incense his mother, but he does not know how to make her very angry”. That means that to make very angry is now a non-cancellable meaning of the verb “incense”. So, to make very angry is a semantic meaning of “incense”. But, as we have seen earlier, the alleged referential meaning of a definite description does not pass the cancellability test. So, the issue of dead metaphors is different from the issue of referentially used definite descriptions. Hence, the example of a dead metaphor’s getting a semantic meaning does not provide a strong ground for Devitt’s view that the…show more content…
But this observation is not always correct. There are cases in which ┌the F┐ for ┌that F┐ or ┌that F┐ for ┌the F┐ cannot be substituted in a sentence keeping the overall meaning of the sentence in question unchanged. Kent Bach offers an example of such a case: suppose that several physicists have been mentioned successively in a conversation. Then, by uttering the sentence “That physicist is a genius” the speaker refers to the last physicist mentioned. But if the speaker uttered the sentence “The physicist is a genius” instead of uttering the sentence “That physicist is genius” in this case, then it would be unclear who was referred to by the speaker in uttering the sentence “The physicist is genius”. That means that in the above case “That physicist” cannot be substituted by “The physicist” without any cost with respect to the goal of communicating a particular thought by the relevant sentence. So, it appears that Devitt’s observation on which his analogy
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