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The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  144 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In The Meaning of the Body, Mark Johnson continues his pioneering work on the exciting connections between cognitive science, language, and meaning first begun in the classic Metaphors We Live By. Johnson uses recent research into infant psychology to show how the body generates meaning even before self-consciousness has fully developed. From there he turns to cognitive ne ...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published August 1st 2007 by University of Chicago Press
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Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
"Finite, fallible, human truth is all the truth we have, and all we need."

This is a decent overview of pragmatist philosophy. It's accessible, given the subject matter, and provides a lot of references for further reading. It isn't the book I would recommend if you really want to delve into the cognitive science, how all this applies in practice, and why it matters. I find the blurb a bit misleading in that regard.
Christina “6 word reviewer” Lake
Metaphor is foundational to all thinking.
Joshua Stein
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, mind, science
In many ways The Meaning of the Body is a follow-up to Johnson's earlier book (with Lakoff) Philosophy in the Flesh . I didn't enjoy Philosophy in the Flesh that much, partly because I felt like the book bit off way more than it could handle, philosophically. It attempted to give a broad philosophical account, but wound up glossing over a ton of material that it really needed to address. Johnson's Meaning doesn't have that problem; the subject matter is well constrained to a narrow set of cla ...more
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Johnson shows and explains in this book how all the meaning we make of our world is inherently pre-linguistic, pre-conceptual and -at its very core- embodied. His claims are well-grounded, and as a layman on the particular subject, I’m inclined to stand by them.

Excerpt on metaphors:
The reason that conceptual metaphor is so important, then, is that it is our primary (although not our only) means for abstract conceptualization and reasoning. (…). From an evolutionary perspective, this means that
Jevgēnijs Kaktiņš
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It seems that the author leads you through the forest of your mind paying attention to certain exciting objects. Never ending debate about subjectivism and objectivism makes this journey a little tiresome though philosophically enriching (not a question for multi-linguist, just start to learn Chinese and you will get it). 5 stars for "something in the way she moves" in the end... Will go for some more cognitive linguistics for sure.
Where has this book been in my life? A philosophical exploration of "meaning" and how the rationalist project has stripped the body and emotion from the philosophical and psychological consideration of meaning. Essential.
In one word: awesome. I must honestly attempt to give a review that does justice to Johnson's enormously insightful book that effortlessly synthesizes pragmatism, phenomenology, cognitive linguistics, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and more
Laurence Holden
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
A book on the other end of the shelf from Nan Shepard's 'The Living Mountain'The Living Mountain. While Shepherd's book is first person experience of our entanglement with the sensed world, Johnson's book tries to stand back and view this entanglement of the meaning of the body in the world from a phenomenological perspective - an attempt to "blend work from cognitive science with traditional phenomenological description, in order to provide an enriched view of human meaning-making." (p.xi) "…in ...more
Lia Jacobson
Jul 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I thought this was a beautiful and refreshingly original examination of people and the way we think.
En rigtig god kilde med dybdegående stof og en grundig gennemgang.
- Brugt på universitetet (litteraturvidenskab) til en opgave om Aristoteles, Platon og poetik.
Andy Jackson
Oct 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Intriguing, slightly laboured book. Still, fantastic attempt to ground the mind in the body - where else would it live?
Roy Kenagy
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Clear and comprehensive exposition of the theory of embodied meaning.
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Is a Knight Professor os Liberal Arts and Sciencesin the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon.

Mark Johnson was born in Kansas City, Missouri on May 24, 1949. He received his B.A. in Philosophy and English at the University of Kansas (1971) and his M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Chicago (1977). He taught in the Philosophy Department at Southern Illinois

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