Metaphors We Live By

Metaphors We Live By, 1980, Univ. of Chicago Press, George Lakoff, Mark Johnson, ISBN 0-226-46800-3

Outlines the theory of conceptual metaphor as a middle way between objectivist insistence on only respecting falsifiable facts and subjectivist insistence on permitting literally any post status in philosophy: not restricting imagination in any way or sense to what is "possible".

According to Lakoff and Johnson the conduit metaphor and various attack and defense idioms are the most dangerous to an imaginative rationality, as they seem to create urgency, deny choices, and forbid examining of alternative options in favour of those that can be "proven".


One implication of the theory is that the usefulness of trolling is higher if it is applied against irrational or presumed-rational choices arising from systemic bias or historicism than if it is applied to criticize fiction: the worst edit is that which claims the most objectivity while not being falsifiable, or which claims subjectivist rationale in parallel with claims of objective truth.

Another implication is that all human command verbs must be closely examined for their inherent and implied ontological metaphors.

A third implication is that methods which involve both rational analysis and creative exploration of vision are seen as the most effective if not the most efficient ways to achieve group coordination and co-operation. To backcast to fixed time horizons, for instance, is to use imagination to find the long term visions that "we will" realize, and then to use more rationalist modes of thought to determine what "we must" do to achieve the shorter term steps before that vision is within our grasp.

A final implication is the cognitive science of mathematics is required to explore the relationship between philosophy of mathematics and philosophy and psychology itself.