Friday, May 30, 2008

Metaphors We Live By 4

Chapter 4 was an 8 page burden :-)

Lakoff and Johnson tell us that thus far in the book we have been talking about structural metaphors. Chapter 4 presents now orientational metaphors.

The first part of the chapter runs through a host of conceptual metaphors having to do with up and down, ahead and behind. Here are some examples:

Conscious is up; unconscious is down.
"Get up," "Wake up," "He fell asleep." The physical basis for this metaphor is that humans and most mammals sleep lying down and stand up when they awake.

Having control or force is up; subject to control or force is down.
"I have control over him," "I am on top of things." "He is under my control." Physical size usually correlates with physical strength, and the winner of a fight is typically on top of the loser.

Foreseeable future events are up and ahead.
Our eyes look forward as we approach things. As we approach them, the ground stays level but the height of what we are approaching increases.

The concluding part of the chapter pushes toward the idea that most of our fundamental concepts are organized around spatialization metaphors. We fit these together with each other without thinking about it. These metaphors are grounded in our physical experience of the world. Things we think of as purely intellectual concepts are often, perhaps always based on metaphors with a physical or cultural basis (e.g., high energy particles).

L and J suspect that "no metaphor can ever be comprehended or even adequately represented independently of its experiential basis" (19). [Very empiricist]

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