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.

chapter 1|1 pages

Idealisation and Deviation

chapter 2|5 pages

Varieties of Understanding

chapter 4|3 pages

Inscriptionalistic Assumptions

chapter 1|1 pages

Introduction to the Problem

chapter 3|1 pages

E-ambiguity, Generality, Vagueness

chapter 4|2 pages

Ambiguity ofOccurrence: I-ambiguity

chapter 5|3 pages

Ambiguity of Occurrence: M-ambiguity

chapter 6|2 pages

A New Problem: Green Centaurs

chapter 7|5 pages

Difference in Meaning

chapter 8|2 pages

Constituent Ambiguity

chapter 9|2 pages

Compound Ambiguity

chapter 10|6 pages


chapter 1|3 pages

Vagueness and I-ambiguity

chapter 2|3 pages

Vagueness, Generality, Precision

chapter 3|2 pages

Vagueness and Molecular Compounds

chapter 6|1 pages

The Possibility of Vagueness

chapter 8|4 pages

Open texture and Analyticity

chapter 9|3 pages

Open texture and Relative Terms

chapter 10|5 pages

Open texture and Classification

chapter 11|7 pages

Vagueness and Logic

chapter 12|7 pages

Vagueness, Meaning and Fact

chapter 2|5 pages

Intuitionistic Approach to Metaphor

chapter 3|5 pages

Emotivism and Metaphor

chapter 4|5 pages

Formulaic Approach to Metaphor

chapter 5|3 pages

Intensional Approach to Metaphor

chapter 6|7 pages

Evaluation of Intensionalism

chapter 7|3 pages

Interactionsm and Metaphor

chapter 8|8 pages

Evaluation of Interactionism

chapter 9|6 pages

Contextualism and Metaphor

chapter 10|4 pages

Evaluation of Contextualism

chapter 11|3 pages

Metaphor and Exploration