Adam's Reviews > Metaphors We Live By

Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff
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's review
Apr 13, 10

really liked it
bookshelves: mudd-library, non-fiction, philosophy
Recommended to Adam by: Jeff McMahan
Read from April 04 to 13, 2010 , read count: 1

From my perspective, the ideas in this book don't seem particularly new, though they are profound and very important. However, the way they use their thesis/topic, metaphors, to elucidate both post-modern philosophy and cultural comparative anthropology is wonderful. Not that they delve into anthropology or linguistics at all - the implications are pretty obvious, though. Metaphors are one of the central vehicles of culture - one of a culture's defining characteristics, which affects its customs, its art, etc.

They begin by drawing the reader's attention to some of the more prominent and fundamental metaphors in American culture. They use these to build a framework of metaphorical types and relations - most importantly, coherence. It's very interesting and (to me) inexplicable that culturally, our metaphors are fully coherent with each other. It seems as though metaphors are processed as homonyms (which may not be true) and that if so, the mechanism by which metaphors are kept coherent is mystifying. They go on to point out how these metaphors define our attitudes and behaviors - though this is a point I wish they'd explored more fully.

The writing is dry, but not awkward or difficult. They say what they want to say in a straightforward way, without any particular eloquence. It's a relatively quick read, though.
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