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

Study Questions by Dr. Jan Garrett

Last revised April 6, 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 17: Plato

33. In his demand for a definition of piety at Euthyphro 6d and at Republic 364 what folk theories does Socrates presuppose? (364-65)

34. If knowledge is knowledge of Being, and not-knowing is a relation to non-Being, then opinion (which is between knowledge and ignorance) must be a relation to what is and is not. What role do the metaphors Knowing Is Seeing and Ideas Are Objects play in this reasoning? (366)

35. How does the metaphor Existence Is Location (discussed earlier at LJ 205-206, in Chapter 11) help create the notion of a Realm of Becoming, located between the Realm-of-Being and Nothingness. How does the notion of Degrees of Being arise? (366-67)

36. How does the Knowing Is Seeing metaphor lead to the judgment that ideas are most real and that physical objects are less so? (367)

37. What metaphor does Plato consciously create to explain how knowledge is possible? (If LJ are right, then sometimes philosophers create special metaphors and do not just borrow them from pre-philosophical thought.) What follows, then, regarding the notion of Platonic Forms? Can essences be material? Can essences be unreal?

38. What type of prototypes do LJ distinguish for conceptual (radial) categories? Does the essence prototype normally differ from the ideal prototype? What does Plato do that is unusual, and what metaphor does he employ in doing it? (368) Why does Plato claim that an object, e.g., a beautiful physical object "imitates" the idea (form) of beauty? (368)

39. Why can there be no essence of Cowardice? How do Platonists deal with negative qualities like this? Can there be an essence of virtue? What is a fully realized person on this model? (368-69)

40. How does Plato discover (or invent) the Idea (Form) of the Good? Explain this in terms of the essences themselves (that is, the intelligible forms or Ideas), the category of essence, the Essence of Essences, the most real being, and the greatest good? (370)

41. Why does Plato maintain that the Idea of the Good is the causal source of everything? the cause of the other Ideas? (370)

42. What role does the Knowing Is Seeing metaphor play in the passage about the Good at Republic 517c (cited at LJ 370)?

43. Why does Plato say that the idea of the Good--this essence of essence--"transcends essence"? (371)

44. Can the idea of the Good be known, according to Plato? In the same way as we know ordinary objects or even in the same way as we know other ideas than the Good? What role does the Knowing Is Seeing metaphor play in resolving this issue? (371-72)

45. What happened to the Platonic idea of the Good in the medieval theological context? (372)