Metaphors We Live By  

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"Objectivism [...] misses the fact that human conceptual systems are metaphorical in nature and involve an imaginative understanding of one kind of thing in terms of another." (Lakoff and Johnson 1980: 194)

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Metaphors We Live By (1980) is a book by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson on conceptual metaphors, in which the authors closely examine a collection of basic conceptual metaphors, including:

The latter half of each of these phrases invokes certain assumptions about concrete experience and requires the reader or listener to apply them to the preceding abstract concepts of love or organizing in order to understand the sentence in which the conceptual metaphor is used.

There are numerous ways in which conceptual metaphors shape human perception and communication, especially in mass media and in public policy.


1. Concepts we live by -- 2. The systematicity of metaphorical concepts -- 3. Metaphorical systematicity: highlighting and hiding -- 4. Orientational metaphors -- 5. Metaphor and cultural coherence -- 6. Ontological metaphors -- 7. Personification -- 8. Metonymy -- 9. Challenges to metaphorical coherence -- 10. Some further examples -- 11. The partial nature of metaphorical structuring -- 12. How is our conceptual system grounded? -- 13. The grounding of structural metaphors -- 14. Causation: partly emergent and partly metaphorical -- 15. The coherent structuring of experience -- 16. Metaphorical coherence -- 17. Complex coherence across metaphors -- 18. Some consequences for theories of conceptual structure -- 19. Definition and understanding -- 20. How metaphor can give meaning to form -- 21. New meaning -- 22. The creation of similarity -- 23. Metaphor, truth, and action -- 24. Truth -- 25. The myths of objectivism and subjectivism -- 26. The myth of objectivism in western philosophy and linguistics -- 27. How metaphor reveals the limitations of the myth of objectivism -- 28. Some inadequacies of the myth of subjectivism -- 29. The experientialist alternative: giving new meaning to the old myths -- 30. Understanding

See also

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