27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Well worth reading, a refreshing vision,
By A Customer
This review is from: Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought (Paperback)
The mind is inherently embodied. Thought is mostly unconscious. Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical.
So begins Philosophy In The Flesh. The authors then analyze Western philosophical traditions from the perspective of these finding in cognitive science. The book is a journey through Western philosophy. While reading this, one feels that one is taking a favorite journey anew from a new perspective.
This layman found the book to be a coherent and fascinating explanation of the nature of reason. The book explains how basic-level concepts; conceptual frames, spatial relations and metaphor are used to construct complex concepts. The book also gives a plausible explanation for why much of thought is universal and yet much is relative between cultures, languages and individuals.
The authors then criticize rational actor models such as those that form the basis of the Western economic, legal, and international relations systems. Their premise is that the western belief that there can be an autonomous rational self is mistaken and this belief leads to mistakes that adversely affect the environment, cultures and individuals when the rational actor models are applied to real systems.
The authors close with a vision of what an embodied philosophy is. They believe that human beings have an embodied metaphoric reason, a limited freedom to adjust conceptual tools, and a morality that based on human embodied experience. The authors believe that it is human nature to change and evolve.
The authors fall onto thin ice in the final section of the book. Their view of evolution as a nurturing system and not a competitive one is not one likely to be shared by most biologists. Clearly nurturing parents are an advantage for many animals, but to say that nature as a whole is a nurturing system is wildly romantic. Additionally the authors wish to define a new moral vision that could be shared by all of humanity. Sadly, but not surprisingly, they do not present a coherent system of morality that could replace the rational actor models they criticize.
Despite these weaknesses, this book is well worth reading as it supplies a refreshing vision that defines what it is to be a thinking human being.