MJ Scheer's Reviews > Metaphors We Live By

Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff
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Helpful to have some background in structuralism before reading. Written in the 70's. Essentially: the metaphor form pervades every facet of our conceptual structure, influencing every aspect of our lives on a daily basis. The authors assert the reasonably simple and inarguable premise that the things we say influence how we think and what we do. Many of our most important concepts are entirely metaphorical in nature (i.e., LOVE). We define these concepts entirely by relating them to other (often physical) experiences (i.e., JOURNEY; PAIN). These relationships can shape our lives in powerful, unnoticed ways by influencing our daily actions and thoughts. Rhetorical and conceptual metaphors help create our individual and cultural realities, both hiding and exposing certain aspects of concepts, ideas, and things, and revealing a complex system in which metaphors interact to create a relatively coherent and metaphorical system of experience.
The most compelling facet of "Metaphors We Live By" is how this idea of the pervasive metaphor relates to theories about truth, though the authors deny this and even at one point state that the metaphor's relationship to truth the least interesting aspect of their studies. The authors suggest that conceptual metaphors indicate that the understanding of a concept is broadly influenced by one's life experiences, advocating against hard-line "objectivism" (an outdated term) and "subjectivism" and instead in favor of middle-of-the-road "experientialism," which denies the existence of "absolute truth," allows for non-individual cultural realities as well as individual perceptions, and is entirely constrained by human interaction with the world.
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Started Reading
July 6, 2011 – Finished Reading
July 13, 2011 – Shelved

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