Metaphors are undoubtedly contextual phenomena. We often creatively employ them to say one thing and mean another by exploiting the literal meaning of the words used. However, metaphors are not simply parasitic on literal meaning. Rather, they pull from ways interlocutors, readers, and audiences understand context, and they tap into our shared knowledge of the world and one another's mutual beliefs.
In this thesis, I propose a pragmatic account of metaphor that treats metaphorical meaning as the result of recovering the speaker's intended meaning. I defend a broadly Gricean account of metaphorical content from more recent accounts that take metaphorical meaning to be directly, explicitly, and automatically interpreted by an audience. A related concern with my view is whether metaphors are distinctively unique from other forms of linguistic communication. According to recent philosophers of language, metaphors and their literal counterparts exploit the same basic cognitive processes. I disagree with this conclusion.
I promote a position that treats metaphor on par with poetic imaginings that exploit characterizations (roughly, stereotypes) to novel ends. This makes my treatment of metaphor importantly different from contemporary treatments of it that reduce metaphor to 'literally loose' talk. I develop a framework of metaphoric communication that is based on Korta and Perry's (2011b) framework developed at length in "Critical Pragmatics". The theoretical utility offered by Korta and Perry's framework is made explicit throughout, but becomes especially important in Part II where I undertake to show how their framework allows me to subsume the nuances of communicating metaphorically within a broader theory of communication.