SOPhiA 2013

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

Automatic Metaphor Interpretation Applied to the Argumentation of New Atheists
(Religionsphilosophie, Englisch)

R''eligion is the opium of the people.'' and ''Religious beliefs are viruses of the mind.''---these are popular metaphors used by Atheists (Karl Marx, Richard Dawkins etc.) in order to argue against religious belief and theological claims. Metaphors often play an important role in arguments, particularly in those of New Atheists (e.g. Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens). For New Atheists use metaphors such as the above mentioned not only to attack theological claims, but also to explain why religion is so wide spread and firmly established in society as well as significantly involved in cultural processes.

Given that metaphors can be important parts of arguments and that the common methods for evaluating literal claims and arguments are not (directly) applicable to metaphorical ones, several questions arise: In which way are metaphors important? How do metaphorical premises of an argument support its conclusion? What is an adequate evaluation procedure for metaphorical claims and arguments? In our talk we will give answers especially to the first and second question and indicate how an answer to the third question might look like. Metaphors in arguments, so our analysis, introduce some very general assumptions about the domain of investigation and these general assumptions---spelled out explicitly---are in support of the conclusion of the argument. To render our analysis more precisely we will outline an implementation of automatic metaphor recognition and interpretation with the help of structural semantics and the linguistic database WordNet (Princeton University). By applying this implementation it will be possible to evaluate metaphorical arguments by common (logical or probabilistic) methods as used in the case of literal arguments.

Chair: Alexander Gebharter
Zeit: 16:45-17:15, 12. September 2013 (Donnerstag)
Ort: HS 107

Christian J. Feldbacher
(Universität Innsbruck, Österreich)

Laurenz Hudetz
(Universität Salzburg, Österreich)

Testability and Meaning deco