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George Lakoff and Mark Johnson take on the daunting task of rebuilding Western philosophy in alignment with three fundamental lessons from cognitive science: The mind is inherently embodied, thought is mostly unconscious, and abstract concepts are largely metaphorical. Why so daunting? "Cognitive science--the empirical study of the mind--calls upon us to create a new, empirically responsible philosophy, a philosophy consistent with empirical discoveries about the nature of mind," they write. "A serious appreciation of cognitive science requires us to rethink philosophy from the beginning, in a way that would put it more in touch with the reality of how we think." In other words, no Platonic forms, no Cartesian mind-body duality, no Kantian pure logic. Even Noam Chomsky's generative linguistics is revealed under scrutiny to have substantial problems.
Parts of Philosophy in the Flesh retrace the ground covered in the authors' earlier Metaphors We Live By, which revealed how we deal with abstract concepts through metaphor. (The previous sentence, for example, relies on the metaphors "Knowledge is a place" and "Knowing is seeing" to make its point.) Here they reveal the metaphorical underpinnings of basic philosophical concepts like time, causality--even morality--demonstrating how these metaphors are rooted in our embodied experiences. They repropose philosophy as an attempt to perfect such conceptual metaphors so that we can understand how our thought processes shape our experience; they even make a tentative effort toward rescuing spirituality from the heavy blows dealt by the disproving of the disembodied mind or "soul" by reimagining "transcendence" as "imaginative empathetic projection." Their source list is helpfully arranged by subject matter, making it easier to follow up on their citations. If you enjoyed the mental workout from Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works, Lakoff and Johnson will, to pursue the "Learning is exercise" metaphor, take you to the next level of training. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Written by distinguished Berkeley linguist Lakoff and his coauthor on Metaphors We Live By (1983), this book explores three propositions claimed as "major findings" of cognitive science: "The mind is inherently embodied. Thought is mostly unconscious. Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." Cognitive science, with its basic materialist bent, applies computer-based concepts, a little neurophysiology, and linguistic theory to human mental life. It will, the authors say, drastically change philosophy. They seem to think that we are really run by our deep wiring and the cultural concepts that become embodied metaphors. While seeking clarity by drawing out the implications of their basic notions, they add new puzzles. What does it mean to say "reason is not disembodied"? Read this book to see how (some?) cognitive scientists think. But read it with Charles P. Siewert's recent The Significance of Consciousness (Princeton Univ., 1998) for the traditional notions of consciousness. Readers will find there's still room for their own judgments.?Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa, Canada
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I am only an amateur of philosophy and linguistics; but the points this book presents seem to me not as original as they are supposed to be. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2004 by KC Tang
George Lakoff is best known for his writings in the area of linguistics- a field that has been dwindling since the heady days of the 60s. Read morePublished on Dec 24 2003 by Michael J. Edelman
I give this book 3 stars for the long and extensive effort to once again make money off of senseless subjects, i mean this is pure genius maybe i need to jump on the bandwagon... Read morePublished on March 11 2003
First of all, despite the reference to 'flesh' in the title, the word 'sex' doesn't appear in the index. Maybe Freud said all there was to say about sex and philosophy. Read morePublished on May 17 2001 by Mark Mills
A monumental work which will change the way you think about your self, how you think about thinking about your self, and about whether you can think independently of your physical... Read morePublished on March 26 2001 by Dr. J. E. Richmond
This volume is the best argument we have so far on behalf of the dismantling of Western philosphical traditions based on what has been learned about the human project by cognitive... Read morePublished on March 17 2001 by Craig Lucas
The central argument of this book is that human abstract thinking is built upon sensory-motor and concrete thinking which form the universal foundations of human cognitive activity... Read morePublished on March 3 2001 by Benjamin Rossen
A useful ancillary resource for the serious student, teacher and/or clinician in the serious study of post-Freudian works of Jaques Lacan, ancient cultural Chinese cosmological,... Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2001 by KS WILLNER
I may just be an armchair philosopher, but I don't think this book's challenge is nearly as radical as it's rhetoric would suggest. Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2001