Thursday, 19 February 2009

Reading Lakoff and Johnson

Cover of "Philosophy in the Flesh : The E...Cover via Amazon

Philosophy in the Flesh : The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought
by George Lakoff, Mark Johnson
HarperCollins Publishers (Dec 1, 1999)
Paperback – 624 pages
ISBN-10: 0465056741
ISBN-13: 9780465056743

Having a break from the later book on maths to go back to the basics.

Fundamental assumptions - of the book
  • The mind is inherently embodied
  • Thought is mostly unconscious
  • Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical

First two are immediately not problematical for me - the latter I am not sure about yet - am attached to the three processes of induction, deduction and abduction (metaphor) - so that is the challenging one for me.

Also in the introduction is a paragraph which says that - reason is evolutionary - by which they mean that abstract reasoning is based on lower processes - which I would agree with but they conclude with a statement of a continuum from animal to human - I am confused here - part of me is attracted by theories which do that - ie language development is based on learned conceptual building blocks rather than inherited via a language acquisition device - at the same time I have always been attracted by the Vygotskian notion of the natural and cultural development meaning that there is a break between animal and human through the engagement with society/culture - similar to the Lacanian concept of language as the entry into a different sort of being.

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