8.17.2005

what the definition of 'is'... is.

i still highly recommend Johnson & Lakoff's 'Metaphors We Live By.' this 'metaphors structure the way we think and act about concepts' is right up mine & scott's alley.

the attempt at an organized heirarchy of metaphors isn't, so much. for example:
The most fundamental values in a culture will be coherent with the metaphorical structure of the most fundamental concepts in the culture.
So, language seems to emerge, in this model, from some 'culture' that speaks through people, and is able to contain values and norms and so on. but they've already backtracked a few times to explain the uses of terms that shouldn't be considered natural totalities, and maybe they'll do that here too.

for example,
We will continue to use the word 'is' in stating metaphors like MORE IS UP, but the IS should be viewed as a shorthand for some set of experiences on which the metaphor is based and in terms of which we understand it.
i really hope to see more of these kinds of acknowledgements as the book goes on. i mean, it's one thing to link concepts like 'more' and 'up' in a given language or culture, but it would be a whole nother to say that 'is' is itself a metaphor, and i'd like to see that said.

i talked a bit about this over the weekend in this post, when i said that our ability to talk about anything (create coherent nouns, assign potential verbs to subjects and objects) is this type of metaphoricity. i hope that's where J & L are going... there's a chapter upcoming on 'ontological metaphors'.

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