Background on George Lakoff, professor linguistics at Berkeley; and Mark Johnson, professor of philosophy at the University of Oregon:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Johnson_(professor); if link does not work, see below
Metaphor: "An analogy identifying one object with another and ascribing to the first object one or more of the qualities of the second" (Harmon and Holman, A Handbook to Literature). A comparison between two things without the use of "like" or "as."
Metaphor: See Human Experience 8: "The essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another."
Conceptual metaphor: See Human Experience 7: "Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature." In other words, we THINK in metaphors.
Embodied mind thesis: Lakoff says that thought is metaphorical; truth is a construction and therefore not a direct reflection of reality. Truth is not an artifact (something fixed for all time); it is a construct. In other words, we make our own reality by thinking in certain ways. See Human Experience 7: "Our concepts structure what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people. Our conceptual system thus plays a central role in defining our everyday realities." Also, as the Wikipedia entry states, "the mind can only be well understood by taking into account the body and the more primitive underpinnings of the mind." We understand abstractions in terms of objects and events in the physical world.
Pages 8-9: "We talk about arguments that way because we conceive of them that way--and we act according to the way we conceive of things." Taking this further: Language --> thought --> action --> habit --> character --> destiny. Be careful of your language; it could impact your destiny.
Important points from "Metaphor and War: The Metaphor System Used to Justify War in the Gulf" (Part 1):
"Secretary of State Baker saw Saddam Hussein as 'sitting on our economic lifeline.'"
The occupation of Kuwait = a "rape," a "kidnap"
War = crime: "murder, assault, kidnapping, arson, rape, and theft"
War = a competitive game (chess) or a sport (football, boxing); emphasis on "strategic thinking"
"War is politics pursued by other means."
War = a fight between two people
War = a fairy tale: villain (Saddam), victim (Kuwait, US), hero (US), magic (weapons)
War = medicine ("surgical strikes")
[Bush the Younger: war = a "crusade"]
Politics = business
The state = a person
Well-being = wealth
Strength for a state = military capability
Maturity for a state = industrialization
Goal of the war = to "push Iraq back out of Kuwait," to "deal the enemy a heavy blow" or a "knockout punch"
Risks = gambles
1. Think back to Plato:
What metaphors do you identify there?
Would Plato agree with Lakoff and Johnson regarding the role of thought in creating reality?
2. How does metaphor shape your reality at Winthrop University? Have you encountered metaphors for education?
Writing activity and discussion:
3. Writing in class and discussion: Here is a story from the GNED website: Zen Activity. Spend 5 minutes writing about the significance of this little story for you. Do you see connections to types of education that Plato identifies? What is YOUR metaphor for education? Share your answers with the rest of the class.
Group activity and discussion:
4. Do the following:
In small groups, brainstorm metaphors that we use to describe dating and relationships.
See if you can identify individual categories in your list (cf. Lakoff and Johnson's sense that argument is war, a building, a journey, a container).
Find a point in their text that this exercise illustrates (hint: Human Experience 9).
Share your responses with the rest of the class.
Several more questions for large-group discussion:
5. Do you, as a member of particular groups, use different metaphors than other class members who are part of different groups? What groups are represented in this class, and how does each bring a different set of metaphors to the table (the question itself, of course, is a metaphor)?
6. How can we establish common ground with people who think in terms of different metaphors? Example: One man's terrorism is another man's jihad.
7. What has today's discussion taught you
about the self in general and YOUR self in particular?
* * *
The following questions are from the GNED website:
--from GNED 102 webpage
Mark L. Johnson (born 24 May 1949 in Kansas City, Missouri) is Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. He is well-known for contributions to embodied philosophy, cognitive science and cognitive linguistics with George Lakoff, but he has also written extensively on philosophical topics such as John Dewey, Kant and ethics.
In his 1987 book The Body in The Mind he developed a theory of image schema as the basic building blocks in cognitive linguistics for conceptual metaphor, as well as language and abstract reason generally. He argued for a revised version of Kant's notion of the schema as the crucial imaginative link between our concrete perceptions of an object (e.g. my dog Fido) and our experience of categories (the class of things called dogs). However, where Kant wanted schemata to serve as a bridge between the empirical and logical (or phenomenal and noumenal) worlds, Johnson maintained that image schema are regularly recurring embodied patterns of experience that are acquired during the course of early child development. Such schemata are image-like in that they are analogic neural activation patterns which preserve the topological contours of perceptual experience as a cohesive whole. Thus they are images in a sense similar to how Kosslyn showed the rotation of Shepard and Metzler-like mental images preserves the visual contours of the 2D picture of the 3D object. However, image schemata are not restricted to visual modality and can be kinesthetic, auditory and cross-modal as well.
Johnson argues that his and Lakoff's recent research on the role of such bodily schemas in cognition and language shows the ways in which aesthetic aspects of experience structure every dimension of our experience and understanding. In his interpretation of John Dewey, he claims that all our abstract conceptualization and reasoning, all our thought and language -- all our symbolic expression and interaction -- are tied intimately to our embodiment and to the pervasive aesthetic characteristics of all experience.