PHIL 401-001 (Fall 2009)
Second Essay Assignment on the Lakoff/Lakoff-Johnson Perspective
or the Cognitive Science of Philosophical Concepts

Contact Dr. Jan Garrett

Last revised on October 14, 2009

Due: Class time, October 28.

Length: 1200 words excluding quoted material; double spaced, word-processed, about one-inch page margins. Please give me a word count, without including quoted material. You may exceed the minimum page length by 2-3 pages if you wish.

Semester Points Assigned: 40

If you have not carefully worked through the study questions corresponding to the key passages on which you'll be relying, you should probably do that before trying to compose your essay.

You may refer to Lakoff (The Political Mind, L) and Lakoff and Johnson (Philosophy in the Flesh, LJ) by page number, using the embedded parenthetic format: e.g., "Lakoff and Johnson say that we rarely think without metaphor" (LJ, 59). You may refer to other works by using the author-date and page method, e.g., (Barnes 1995, 325). Use a bibliography if you cite such other sources.

Suggested Topics

Note: Other passages than those indicated by the study questions listed may be relevant. Use the index to look up any terms whose meanings are not clear. (I have created a glossary for Philosophy in the Flesh on this website that you may find useful.)

A. Lakoff and Johnson on embodied realism, disembodied realism, and truth.

See chapters 6-7; especially issues to which the following study questions refer: 59-60; 63; 65-66; 71; 72; 74-75; 77-84; 92-98.

B. The cognitive science of causal ideas.

See chapter 11, especially the issues to which the following study questions refer: 38-39; 42-54; 56-59; 64-65. Among other things, this chapter tries to show how philosophical concepts such as essence and the four well-known Aristotelian causes derive from common conceptual metaphors. It also evaluates Russell's thesis that the idea of cause is a mere fiction.
C. The cognitive science of ideas of mind
See chapter 12, especially the issues to which the following study questions refer: 70-82; 84-86; 90-93. Note: This chapter has a number of interesting and provocative things to say about major perspectives in 20th century Anglo-American analytic philosophy.
D. Select a set of interrelated issues from among those discussed in chapters 3 and 4 of The Political Mind and chapter 14 of Philosophy in the Flesh. You could concentrate on the themes of chapter 3 and chapter 4 (which seems to provide more detail). The later chapters presuppose the earlier ones, so be pretty sure you understand the earlier before trying to write on the topics of the later. Give some examples from recent rhetoric or narrative, not limited to expressions of just one of the two primary family moral models. If you wrote your first paper on the expression of the Strict Father model in recent American political thinking and rhetoric, do a topic other than option D.

See the relevant study questions for The Political Mind. Chapter 14 in Philosophy in the Flesh is an earlier discussion of Lakoff's perspective on family moral models and politics. There are Study Questions for this chapter on this website.
E. The Cognitive Science of a Philosophical View, e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Analytic Philosophy.
We may not get very far into PIF part III before this paper is due, so you might want to wait for the third paper to do this. The material in PIF part III presupposes material in part II. For instance, many of the chapters in part III presuppose the chapter in Part II on Causation or Mind. Also, the later chapters in part III build on earlier chapters in part III itself.

If you find yourself stuck at any point, please ask for guidance. I am here to help.