16.02.2015 Johnson – Philosophy’s Debt to Metaphor

Johnson, M., 2008. Philosophy’s Debt to Metaphor. In: Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr., ed. The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought, pp. 39-52.

Text chosen by Melehat Nil Gulari

The paper I selected for the reading group is from Mark Johnson, who is well known for the book “Metaphors we live by” which he has co-authored with George Lakoff.

In this book chapter, he addresses the significance of metaphor for the study of philosophy. He argues that philosophical reasoning and theories often rest on a foundation of simple and complex metaphors.

Johnson identifies that fundamental philosophical questions, for example, What is mind and how does it work? What does it mean to be a person? What is the nature of reality? Is there such a thing as free will? What things or actions are morally good? are all dependent on metaphor for their answers. Johnson concludes that metaphoric thinking is essential to future progress in philosophy.

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