Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought

Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought

Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought

Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought


Recent findings of cognitive science that are shattering long-held assumptions about man's ability to reason and contemplate. This pathbreaking volume by the authors of Metaphors We Live By (100,000 copies in print) is the first book to fully explore the impact of these findings. It traces the paths of scientific missiles that have exploded our philosophical bedrock, while laying the groundwork for the next stage in philosophical thought.

In the style of Daniel Dennett's Consciousness Explained, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson break down complex concepts in easy-to-follow terms. They clarify how three major discoveries -- the workings of mind cannot be separated from the anatomy and physiology of brain; thought is mostly unconscious; and abstract concepts are largely metaphorical -- refute the long-held view that reason is independent of the body, literal, directly accessible to conscious reflection, and uniquely human.

Keen insights into concepts of time, mind, self, and morality accompanyreexaminations of philosophical traditions from those of the classical Greeks through Kantian morality. Finally, the book takes on two major issues in modern philosophy: how we conceive rationality and how we conceive language. Nothing short of revolutionary, this instant classic will become a seminal treatise on philosophy for the new millennium.


The mind is inherently embodied.

Thought is mostly unconscious.

Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical.

These are three major findings of cognitive science. More than two millennia of a priori philosophical speculation about these aspects of reason are over. Because of these discoveries, philosophy can never be the same again.

When taken together and considered in detail, these three findings from the science of the mind are inconsistent with central parts of Western philosophy. They require a thorough rethinking of the most popular current approaches, namely, Anglo-American analytic philosophy and postmodernist philosophy.

This book asks: What would happen if we started with these empirical discoveries about the nature of mind and constructed philosophy anew? The answer is that an empirically responsible philosophy would require our culture to abandon some of its deepest philosophical assumptions. This book is an extensive study of what many of those changes would be in detail.

Our understanding of what the mind is matters deeply. Our most basic philosophical beliefs are tied inextricably to our view of reason. Reason has been taken for over two millennia as the defining characteristic of human beings. Reason includes not only our capacity for logical inference, but also our ability to . . .

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