The Extent of the Literal is concerned with a number of issues central to semantics, psychology, cognitive science and philosophy. The author develops a striking new approach to metaphor and polysemy , bringing into serious doubt the widespread assumption of a literal-metaphorical distinction in which for a large number of words only one meaning is considered as 'basic' with all other meanings considered as metaphorical extensions. She argues for a 'no polysemy' view of conceptual structure, so that a theory of word meaning does not also have to be a theory of concepts. Drawing on experimental evidence from psychology and neuroscience she challenges seminal work on metaphor and polysemy within cognitive linguistics, lexical semantics and analytical philosophy .

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