Re: virus: Lakoff lecture, part 5 (fwd)

Brett Lane Robertson (
Mon, 15 Sep 1997 13:49:50 -0500

Philosophers use metaphors we already have. The classical model of what a
person is is all based on these metaphors, and all empirically false.

Reason is not transcendent: it's shaped by bodily experience. It's
largely UNconscious, imaginative, grounded in physical metaphors. (below)


Thanks for the notes: Here (above) is where I part ways with this thinking.
I say (yes) philosophers use metaphors we already have; But "to already
have" is to imply that metaphors preceed body. I say that metaphors exist
prior to bodily orientation--that they are "relationships" (that symbols in
ancient languages are "shapes" that illustrate relationships--movements on
or about a "house" symbol or a "tree" symbol --suggests to me that letters
themselves have become spatial metaphors and all language is determined by
the relationship of one relationship to another relationship...only finally
being interpreted by the bodies orientation [to the right if one is facing
forward though left if one is facing backward] because many people use a
kinesthetic (bodily sensate) memory strategy...because they *think*
primarilly in relation to their body and not because the body is the
originator of metaphorical relationships. Because of this, I say that the
"classical model of what a person is is all based on these metaphors" but
that it is therefore *true* (being based on spatial relations irrespective
of body but often interpreted in terms of body). I follow the idea that the
metaphor is based in the words themselves and not the body, that reason
*does* transcend body. I don't see where the existence of metaphors and the
relation to body as metaphorical *interpreter* necissarily implies that body
is the originator of metaphor. So I would say that bodily experience is
shaped by reason and not the other way around (for this is the assumption of


At 08:44 AM 9/15/97 -0700, you wrote:

>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 23:14:00 -0800 (PST)
>From: Eva-Lise Carlstrom <>
>Subject: virus: Lakoff lecture, part 5


>All the results are inconsistent with existing philosophies.

>--Descartes was wrong: the mind and body are not separate. Reason is
>shaped by the body.
>--Kant was wrong: a person is not radically autonomous (free will)--reason
>is not transcendent, but based in the body and derived from it. Reason is
>not universal. Morality is not independent from experience.
>--Utilitarians are wrong: They say reason is the maximizing of personal
>benefit. But no one thinks that way--most thinking is metaphorical and
>unconscious. Since the metaphors used contradict one another, there are
>conflicting goals and actions, conflicting ideas of self-interest.
>--Phenomenology gets only the tip of the iceberg, the conscious part.
>--Post-structuralism is false--conceptual systems are based in the body,
>not arbitrary but in fact largely universal.
>--Analytic philosophy (which says thought is separate from the body) says
>that meaning is in the relation between words and the world, and mind and
>body don't enter into it. False! False!
>--The computational model of a person (mind as program, manipulation
>meaningless symbols and somehow producing meaning from them) is
>wrong--people get meaning from bodily experience.


Rabble Sonnet Retort
Boy, n.:
A noise with dirt on it.