Philosophy in the flesh : the embodied mind and its challenge to Western thought /

Main Author: Lakoff, George.
Other Authors: Johnson, Mark, 1949-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Basic Books, c1999.
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Review by Choice Review

This linguist-philosopher collaboration works well, except for a weak foray into morality and spirituality, and its unusual length is justified to demonstrate how cognitive science "plays its crucial role in helping philosophy realize its full importance and usefulness." Together Lakoff (linguistics, Univ. of California, Berkeley) and Johnson (philosophy, Univ. of Oregon) exorcize almost all metaphysical demons common to traditional philosophy, among them mind/body dualism, meaning, linguistic reference and the correspondence theory of truth, a priori assumptions and reasoning, transcendental spiritualism, and morality and universal reason. Empirical findings in cognitive (and neurological) science are used to ground their embodied scientific realism view. These findings also serve to 1) provide the basis for a revisionist account of the history of philosophical ideas, 2) ground the criticism of opposing views that fail on consistency and correspondence with the empirical facts, 3) highlight ineffective and effective metaphors in the categorization of reality with human beings at the center of the world, 4) describe a viable version of scientific realism, 5) provide a basis for empiricism, and 6) describe a reductionist, determinist account of the world. A series of sections summarizing various arguments, theories, and positions is helpful for the lay reader. General readers, undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty and researchers. J. Gough; Red Deer College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.