Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Haser: Metaphor, Metonymy, and Experientialist Philosophy (2005), chs. 2 and 3

Chapter 2 of Verena Haser's book deals with the often ill-defined distinction between metaphor and metonymy. It is not directly relevant to me.

Chapter 3 pecks a little at some of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's rhetoric. Two "case studies," that is, two point of criticism, are examined. The first (ch. 3.2.1) is the problems with overgeneration, and the second (ch. 3.2.2) is their use of non-existent straw men.

Only the former of these contains arguments directed at the substance of the theory itself (as opposed to its rhetoric).

In this section, Haser notes that ideas can't be sautéed when they evidently can be half-baked (p. 59). Lakoff and Johnson try to edge out of this problem by saying that abstract target domains aren't sharply defined and therefore behave somewhat unpredictably. Haser replies that this concept is ad hoc and ill-defined (p. 60).

She also notes that one of their prime arguments against their rhetorical straw man, the "strong homonymy view," presupposes the fact that metaphors are fueled by conceptual mappings (p. 60).

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