Study Questions for Lakoff and Johnson,
Philosophy in the Flesh, Part II

Study Questions by Dr. Jan Garrett

Last revised March 16, 2007

The numbers associated with the questions refer to pages in LJ, unless otherwise indicated. "LJ" refers to Lakoff and Johnson, the authors, or to Philosophy in the Flesh, which they jointly authored.

Chapter 11: Events and Causes

38. How does the objectivist tradition (roughly equivalent to traditional philosophical realism) view causation and related issues? (two claims, top 171)

39. What two counter-claims do LJ assert? (mid 171) What two views do LJ deny? (bottom 171-top 72)

40. What is the Causal Concept Puzzle? (172-73)

41. What is the Causal Theory Puzzle? (173-75)

42. What is the basis for the literal skeleton of our conception of event structure? (175-76) Does it come with a rich inferential structure? (176) How does it get further fleshed out?

43. How do LJ characterize the "literal skeletal concept of causation"? (177top)

44. What are the two chief sources of the wealth of forms of causal reasoning we actually use? What is prototypical causation? What does it mean to say that the category of (forms of) causation is radial? (177)

45. What is the center of the category? In what ways may the central prototype be literally extended? How does metaphor extend the category?

46. What is the basis for the following metaphors: "Causal Priority is Temporal Priority"; "Causes are Correlations"; "Causes are Sources"?

47. Explain the Location Event-Structure Metaphor. (179) How are states understood in this metaphor? What is meant by "location"? (180) What are some inferences regarding states that are generated by this metaphor? (181)

48. How are changes understood in this metaphor? (183) Causes? (184-85)

49. How do LJ show that the metaphor they have just been discussing is constitutive of the concept of causation? (186-87)

50. How are actions seen in the Location Event-Structure Metaphor? (187) What follows, then, regarding freedom of action? (188) What five classes of metaphorical difficulties are found in English? (189-90)

51. How are purposes conceptualized in the Event-Structure Metaphor? (190) Means? Making progress? Expected progress? (192) External events-three ways? (192-93) Long-term activities? (193)

52. Why do LJ claim that the Attributes Are Possessions metaphor is the "dual" of the States Are Locations metaphor? (195)

53. What name do LJ give to the version of the Event-Structure Metaphor that uses the Attributes are Possessions metaphor? How are changes understood in this version? causation? purposes? (196) What metaphors extend the notion of achieving a purpose? trying to achieve a purpose? (197)

54. What philosophical conclusion do LJ draw from the duality of the Event-Structure metaphors? (199-200)

55. Consider the causation-related metaphors introduced on pp. 207-11. What important philosophical conclusion do LJ draw from this evidence? (211)

56. What metaphorical mappings make up the Nature as Agent metaphor? (212) Explain the source of the phrase "what's up?" (213) Why does the preposition "from" often indicate causality? (213)

57. What does the Folk Theory of Essence affirm? What is an essence? What metaphor is the source for Aristotle's notion of material cause? (Essence as ___ ) Give examples of English sentences whose grammar involves the notion of essence. (214-15)

58. Given the Location Event-Structure metaphor for causation, what generates the metaphor Reasons are Causes? (215) Why do LJ say that reasons are causes, but only very indirectly? (216) What metaphorical blend is at work here? Distinguish worldly causation from epistemic causation. (This corresponds to the distinction between explanation and argument, by the way.) (216)

59. What metaphor is the basis of our everyday notion that there are purposes in the world? (217) Does it occur in scientific literature? (217) What did Aristotle do with this metaphor? Why are certain Aristotelian causes called final causes? (218)

60. What is the primary metaphor for action with uncertain knowledge? (219)

61. What holds the radial structure of the category Causation together? What role does the Causes are Forces metaphor play in central forms of causation? How are central cases limited? (222)

62. For what sorts of changes are other conceptions of cause necessary? How do causal theories in the social sciences illustrate them? Of what metaphors are they special cases? (223)

63. What follows regarding these metaphorical theories, if you accept the traditional philosophical view that there is only one true concept of causation, a concept which is literal and only has one logic? (223-24) How do LJ respond to this view? (224)

64. Of what is the ancient Greek view of material and formal cause a consequence? What sanctions the view that uniformities of nature are causes? the philosophical view that causes are temporally prior to effects? That causes are necessary conditions? That causation is (constant) correlation? (225)

65. How does the range of philosophical theories of causation arise? (226) To what overall philosophical consequences do LJ come? (226-27)

66. Newtonian physics, general relativity theory, and superstring theory give us very different models of physical reality.
     a. Are they metaphorical, according to LJ? (230)
     b. Are they mutually exclusive? (230)
     c. Are they compatible with our embodied, basic-level concepts and the basic-level experiences to which they relate? (231)
     d. Are our fundamental metaphorical concepts arbitrary or for the most part culturally determined? (231 bottom)
     e. Which perspective is literal? (But relative to what?) (232)
     f. Which is metaphorical (relative to the same thing)?
     g. From what perspective does force exist?
     h. From what perspective does it not exist? (232)
     i. How does this answer Bertrand Russell, who claimed on the basis of physical theory (see p. 227) that causation did not exist?

67. Why are the assumptions behind the question "Does causation exist?" false? (232-33)

68. How does this eliminate "a simple-minded realism"? (233)

69. When we move away from central prototypical cases of causation, why does the question whether causation exists become problematic? (233) Where do our basic-level concepts utterly fail us? (233-34)