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Philosophy In The Flesh Paperback – Oct 8 1999

3.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Revised ed. edition (Oct. 8 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465056741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465056743
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 4 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #131,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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.

From Library Journal

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.

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Format: Paperback
For over two millenia, nearly all worldly knowledge was regarded as falling under the general heading of philosophy. Physics, psychology, politics, and even economics were all regarded as various branches of study growing out of a single, philosophical trunk. Aristotle, the most systematic of the ancient philosophers, even dabbled in biology. But as human knowledge advanced, these various branches of study broke off from the philosophic stem and established themselves as independent sciences in their own right. Philosophy soon found itself reduced to metaphysics, morals, aesthetics, and epistemology. But now even epistemology is trying to break away. "Philosophy in the Flesh" documents the attempt of "cognitive science" to make epistemology an empirical science separate from philosophy. Its authors, Lakoff and Johnson, seek to challenge the largely introspective and "a priori" speculations of philosophical epistemology, which they regard as discreditable.
"Philosophy in the Flesh" commences by laying down three major findings of cognitive science: (1) that the mind is inherently embodied; (2) that thought is mostly unconscious; and (3) that abstract concepts are largely metaphorical. Assuming that these three findings are true (and, according to Lakoff & Johnson, they are empirically validated beyond any question), then it follows that many of the central tenets of the major philosophic traditions must be dismissed as hopelessly inadequate.
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The authors set out on what *appeared* to be an interesting project. How could philosophy be reconstructed in order to be made compatible with the "results" of second-generation cognitive science? Yet Philosophy is not fundamentally an empirical enterprise. Empirical results, while interesting, do not often help to answer philosophical questions. Knowing that we conceptualize time as moving does little to tell us whether the A theory or the B theory of time is true. One of them must be, for they are mutually exclusive alternatives. Is space-time kind of substance, or is it merely a system of relations? Are propositions about the future true *now*? Nothing in this book will give you an inkling. The authors seem confused between a thing and and our conceptualization of it, and the majority of this book just seems like a long ad hominem circumstantial. Even if everyone who ever believed in God was absolutely insane, that would do nothing to settle the *philosophical* issue of whether or not God actually exists. The fact that we conceptualize time spatially tells us nothing about whether or not time is really like space. It might be, and it might not be, the fact that we conceptualize it thus is entirely irrelevant to the issue. The problem lies in their calling these cognitive mechanisms "metaphors", since calling them such presupposes that they cannot be literally true. Since the authors treat them as metaphors, they win by default, and there's simply no argument to be had. For example, they call "time is space" a metaphor. But is it really? The past does not seem to be co-located with the future. They do not interpenetrate each other, and this presupposes that they are indeed "separated" some quasi-spatial sense.Read more ›
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Once again leave it to the western thinkers to drop the ball! For one, the mind being a inherented embodiment clearly shows that it is a programed mechanism regardless of what one chooses to see and secondly confront with the eyes to human limited logic relation. Please less question how we view what the brain really is! lmao! For starters lets see it as a common shell of our particular species that incases its own unique human snail. The human snail would be the ego personality as it relates as being a (MIND) within a system of a boundless MIND! Secondly thoughts being unconsciousness depends on your understanding of consciousness which is clearly limited in the views i have read as well as of this book. Thirdly abstract concepts being metaphoric, yes and no, it all depends on intuitiveness regardless of any secondary relation towards explaining a subject or even creating one, so in the end we can treat abstract concepts as being a fundamental concrete construct in the sense of getting many usages out of the same concept as seen through out all societies as ppl can use the same form to define asscoiated value to (it) differently. To sum up my point the ancient egyptians explained the whole mind and body relation way back in the day, too bad it was never understood in its entirety to outsiders. So on closing regardless of the mind/body relation, which is evident, this still does not take away from the claims of it all being intentionally induced or the constructs of an outside causer as i will explain in great volumes in the near future. For a better view of the limitations of human rationale read DAVID CHALMERS book entitled, The Conscious Mind (in search of a fundamental theory).Read more ›
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