Ambiguity, vagueness and metaphor are pervasive features of language, deserving of systematic study in their own right. Yet they have frequently been considered mere deviations from ideal language or obstacles to be avoided in the construction of scientific systems. First published in 1979, Beyond the Letter offers a consecutive study of these features from a philosphical point of view, providing analyses of each and treating their relations to one another.
Addressed to the fundamental task of logical and semantic explanation, the book employs an inscriptional methodology in the attempt to avoid prevalent forms of question-begging, and, further, in the conviction that sparseness of assumption often reveals points of theoretical interest irrespective of methodolgical preference.
The author distinguishes and analyses several varieties of ambiguity, developing new semantic notions in the process; recasts the philosophical treatment of vagueness in the light of recent criticisms of analyticity; discusses the bearing of vagueness on logic; and provides a systematic critique of major recent interpretations of metaphor, developing a revised version of contextualism.
Part I: Ambiguity 1. Introduction to the Problem 2. Inscriptions and Extensions 3. E-Ambiguity, Generality, Vagueness 4. Ambiguity of Occurence: I-ambiguity 5. Ambiguity of Occurence: M-ambiguity 6. A New Problem: Green Centaurs 7. Difference in Meaning 8. Constituent Ambiguity 9. Compound Ambiguity 10. Mention-Selection Part II: Vagueness 11. Vagueness and I-ambiguity 12. Vagueness, Generality, Precision 13. Vagueness and Molecular Compounds 14. Vagueness, Atomic Compounds and Mention-Selection 15. Relativity and the Universality of Vagueness 16. The Possibility of Vagueness 17. Open Texture, Compounds and Mention-selection 18. Open Texture and Analycity 19. Open Texture and Relative Terms 20. Open Texture and Classification 21. Vagueness and Logic 22. Vagueness, Meaning and Fact Part III: Metaphor 23. Metaphor, Mention-selection and E-ambiguity 24. Intuitionistic Approach to Metaphor 25. Emotivism and Metaphor 26. Formulaic Approach to Metaphor 27. Intensional Approach to Metaphor 28. Evaluation of Intensionalism 29. Interactionalism and Metaphor 30. Evaluation of Interactionalism and Metaphor 31. Contextualism and Metaphor 32. Metaphor and Exploration