Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Quotes from some reviews of Philosophy in the Flesh and More Than Cool Reason

Two quotes from Joseph Ulric Neisser's review (2001) of Philosophy in the Flesh (1999) in Language:
They [= Lakoff and Johnson] characterize basic metaphors as unconscious and automatic.A fairly rigid structural determinism ensues. (p. 167)
Like latter-day psychoanalysts, L & J spend several hundred pages unmasking the root metaphors which have dominated the minds of unwitting philosophers. (p. 167)
From Michael O'Donovan-Anderson's review of the same book (2000) in Review of Metaphysics:
Although they spend a great deal of time developing an "embodied realism," it is nothing like acceptable in its current formulation. (p. 943)
... their very strange and programmatic chapters on the history of philosophy do not constitute philosophical attention ...(p. 943)
From Richard Taylor's review (1991) of More Than Cool Reason (1989) in The Modern Language Review:
Next time, however, one can only hope that a style somewhat less irritatingly flat and awkward might be used. [...] Schoolbook strategies are even more out of place in so sophisticated an argument; now boys and girls: 'Let us look at the list of basic conceptual metaphors that we have encountered in this chapter.' (p. 653)
From Thomas Leddy's review of the same book (1990) in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism:
Unfortunately, individual theorists and their specific positions are not discussed. [...] It turns out that in a final chapter titled "More on Traditional Views" the various positions are in fact identified with actual theories of actual authors. [...] Yet in some cases the match is hard to see and in others it is incorrect. (p. 260)
Actually, the similarities between Black's position and Lakoff and Turner's are more striking than the differences. (p. 261)
We are told that death is night draws on the semantically autonomous concept of night which is grounded in what "we experience night to be" (p. 113), i.e., as "dark, cold, foreboding, and so on" (p. 113). Yet although it is difficult to conceive of a night that is not dark it is certainly not the case that nights are always cold and foreboding. The combination of dark, cold and foreboding seems like a fairy-tale, adventure story, or monster movie view of night. In short, although itself without temporal components, it seems to be connected with a type of narrative fiction. (p. 261)
Users of this chapter [ch. 3] should however carefully attend to the authors' cautionary note that this analysis "does not constitute a literary-critical treatment of the poem" and that it is only intended to be "a prerequisite to any such discussion" (p. 159).  (p. 261)

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