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Metaphors We Live By

Metaphors We Live By [Kindle Edition]

George Lakoff , Mark Johnson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

The now-classic Metaphors We Live By changed our understanding of metaphor and its role in language and the mind. Metaphor, the authors explain, is a fundamental mechanism of mind, one that allows us to use what we know about our physical and social experience to provide understanding of countless other subjects. Because such metaphors structure our most basic understandings of our experience, they are "metaphors we live by"—metaphors that can shape our perceptions and actions without our ever noticing them.

In this updated edition of Lakoff and Johnson's influential book, the authors supply an afterword surveying how their theory of metaphor has developed within the cognitive sciences to become central to the contemporary understanding of how we think and how we express our thoughts in language.

About the Author

George Lakoff is a professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of, among other books, "Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things" and "Moral Politics," both published by the University of Chicago Press. Mark Johnson is the Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon. He is the author of "The Body in the Mind" and "Moral Imagination," both published by the University of Chicago Press. Johnson and Lakoff have also coauthored "Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 950 KB
  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0226468011
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 2nd edition (19 Dec 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009KA3Y6I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #137,081 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking metaphorically 27 July 2008
By tomsk77
This is one of those books that manages to crystallize half-thought-out ideas and insights that you have but never really manage to develop. And once you get your head around the central ideas you can see how applicable these are in many different bits of the world. Obviously, it all about metaphors, and the early chapters of the book look at the types of metaphors we use and how prevalent they are. This stuff alone is really worth a read just to make yourself aware of just how often we use metaphors, but also how we use many different expressions of the same underlying metaphor. Take the following example from the book:

"Theories (and arguments) are buildings:

"Is that the foundation for your theory? The theory needs more support. We need some more facts or the argument will fall apart. We need to construct a strong argument for that. I haven't figured out yet what the form of the argument will be. Here are some more facts to shore up the theory. We need to buttress the theory with solid arguments. The theory will stand or fall on the strength of that argument. The argument collapsed. They exploded his latest theory. We will show his theory to be without foundation. So far we have put together only the framework of the theory."

Surprising isn't it that we use lots of different expressions based around one metaphor? That leads on to one of the fundamental arguments in the book - that metaphors are not merely linguistic devices, they are conceptual. We don't just use the 'theories are buildings' metaphor to get across our message, we actually think and act in those terms too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A new understanding 17 May 2009
This book provides a new and interesting approach to the study of metaphors, which are seen as deeply rooted in our cultural background and not just simple linguistic devices.

The book is intended for the general public, since it's easy to understand, well presented, and concise. However, this feature cannot appeal to a more informed audience, since the author does not provide any footnotes or cross-references to delve more deeply into this interesting matter.

For those who want to get a wider picture, there is the following book by the same author: Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought.
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76 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Metaphors we think by. 6 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Metaphor is usually seen as an aspect of words, a linguistic trick we use to increase the effect of our words. Lakoff sets out to show that metaphors are a fundamental part of our thought processes whenever we try to think abstractly. His book does not provide a rigorous scientific proof, but it does present a lot of evidence in favor of the thesis. However, a full treatment of the issue would take a much thicker and less readable book than this one.
Lakoff gives examples from life for various metaphors, for example, TIME IS MONEY (or TIME IS A VALUABLE COMMODITY), and shows how we use these metaphors in our everyday thoughts and actions ("Spending time", "wasting time", "saving time", etc). He shows how many different ideas can be expressed with simlar metaphors, ie HAPPINESS IS UP / SADNESS IS DOWN, HEALTH IS UP / SICKNESS IS DOWN, and so on.
Lakoff sets forth his case clearly and coherently, and with some of his examples, quite entertainingly. If you want some insight into how we think, buy this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Books that have changed my life 20 Sep 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are some books that are just so 'right' you immediately click with them.
This is one such.
The idea is that we live by metaphors - 'war', 'sex', 'up is good' etc etc. This is a trans-national, trans-cultural truth that holds true for the whole species. That as the brain recognises what is going on neural paths are activated, and where the same thing is recognised, the same neural paths are triggered, until they get 'hard-wired' into our consciousness and behaviour.
This was penned back in the '80s, but stays fresh and true in the noughties.
To be honest, it goes a bit funny at the end where they try to guess where future research may take them, as far as I can see wrongly, but the first 90% is so good you can forgive them that!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-altering stuff 6 May 2005
If you didn't realise just how much of what we understand is achieved by metaphor, this book will leave you reeling, as it did me. Start here, then follow up with "Philosophy in the flesh".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this book the authors show how metaphors are much more than we at first suppose. They are not just aids to language; they are fundamental concepts that underpin much of our thinking. There are some powerful ideas and good examples in the book but its style is very heavy, arcane and academic. It is tough work getting through the book and the key ideas could be expressed much more concisely.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fundamental and debatable 3 Oct 2011
This book has become a classic and some will even say some kind of pioneering gospel in the field of the study of metaphors. As a starting point, or rather a prompter, I will quote the 2003 Afterword: "In short, metaphor is a natural phenomenon." Lakoff is a linguist and as such of course he does not neglect language ane knows metaphors are a linguistic phenomenon. Still as a prompter I will ask the question: is language a natural phenomenon or a man-made invention?

I will not answer that question here. It is a wider question than the book itself. I am surprised that he actually wrote this sentence that leads to that question. But he states this sentence because he never ever considers the phylogeny of language in the emerging Homo Sapiens, nor the real psychogenesis of language in a real child. And yet he is stating some of the fundamental principles of these two approaches of language, of the linguistic faculty of man.

I will not discuss his approach of the Objectivist conception or of the Subjectivist conception. These approaches are just unrealistic. They do not consider man and his linguistic invention in the real genetic conditions that produced the emergence of language in Homo Sapiens, nor the mergence of language in a new-born child. Why waste time on such a passé if not archaic discussion. The book did it when it came out in 1979. That was OK then, though already slightly wilted, but today it sounds absurd to discuss such theories or myths that have nothing to do with reality. I will remain in this review within the theoretical approach of Lakoff himself, what he calls the Experientialist approach. And that is already a lot to consider.

In the book the best summary is p. 272-3.
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