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

Study Questions by Dr. Jan Garrett

Last revised April 10, 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 19: Descartes and the Enlightenment Mind

67. What metaphors that were important for Plato and for Aristotle become useless for Descartes? Why? (391)

68. What is the most fundamental for Descartes? How does D. understand an idea; knowing an idea; mental attention; impediments to knowing? (393-94)

69. How does D. define "intuition"? What gives certainty and removes all doubt? (394-95)

70. How does D. understand the mind metaphorically? (395) What does the Cartesian Theater enable us to do with ideas? (395)

71. What metaphors of faculty psychology does D. assume? (395) How is perceiving conceptualized? imagination? reason?

72. What does the Ideas are Objects metaphor, added to The Mind Is a Container, produce? (395)

73. What inference regarding the knowability of ideas by reason is drawn from the common folk theory of vision plus Descartes' system of metaphors? (396) Why does Descartes speak about illumination by the light of reason? (Does that literally correspond to anything in our experience of reasoning?) (396)

74. What "celebrated conclusion" does D. arrive at with the help of his metaphors? (396)

75. How does D. conclude that all thought is conscious? (How is this an entailment from his metaphors and two folk theories?) What does cognitive science say about the "all thought is conscious" claim? (397-97)

76. How does D. arrive at his view that "the structure of the mind is directly accessible to itself"? What conclusion follows from this? (397)

77. What, according to LJ, is the source of the view, widely held in Anglo-American philosophy of mind today, that philosophy of mind can be done without empirical research? (397)

78. What role do the Metaphors Knowing Is Seeing, Thinking Is Moving, and Seeing Is Touching play in Descartes' account of deduction? (398) What problem is D. trying to solve with his "rather bizarre model of deduction"? (399) Why is his solution, strictly speaking, impossible? (400) What role does D's supply of metaphors play here? (400)

79. What Cartesian metaphors do LJ regard as "of special catastrophic significance"? (400) What three elements of Cartesian philosophy have influenced much recent philosophical thinking? (400) What consequences beyond philosophy have these had? (400-401)

80. What important folk theory is Descartes' using? On what important metaphor is Descartes' argument for the mind-body distinction based? (401-402) What additional folk theory, according to LJ, is required to generate the theory of the conclusion that the mind is disembodied and that the essence, and only essence, of human beings is the ability to reason?

(Note: Actually, Descartes is quite capable of distinguishing the purely mental "I" from human nature, which for him, once he establishes the existence of the body, is an immaterial substance (the "I") closely associated with a specific type of body. But he clearly regards the "I" as more basic, metaphysically, and more knowable, than the body. What LJ are calling "human nature" is for D. the nature of the self or soul or mind. I don't think that this point affects their main conclusions about Descartes.--JG)

81. How does D. establish the non-necessary character of the imagination? of the emotions? (403-404)

82. What two kinds of ideas does D. sometimes distinguish? (404) Of these, which must be present from birth, according the reading of LJ? (404) Why is this type of ideas unproblematic for D.? (What metaphor is at work here?) (404)

83. What specific study did D. see as a model for the study of thought in general? How did Descartes see mathematics? On what basis could he claim that there can be no mistake about mathematics? (LJ do not discuss the fact that for Descartes this kind of trust of mathematics rests on a prior proof of the existence of God.--JG) Which is more certain for D., mathematics as such or the application of mathematics to things in the world? (405)

84. What makes Descartes' mathematical views relevant to his theory of mind? (405-406)

85. How does Hobbes understand Reason? What does this "sum up"? (406)

86. What theory important inherited by first generation cognitive science did Descartes create? What problem is it devised to solve? (407)

87. According to LJ, how do the elements of the Cartesian picture of mind hold together? (408-409) What will "any attempt to cash out this literal-sounding theory" have to do? (409)

88. What does the body of evidence supporting 2nd-generation cognitive science imply regarding the tenets of the Cartesian view of mind? (409)

89. Explain, briefly, the Society of Mind Metaphor? In the Folk Theory of Faculty Psychology, how does the external realm differ from the internal? What/who inhabits the internal realm? (410) What is the personality of Perception? Imagination? Feeling? Understanding? How do the "persons" cooperate? (411) What is Reason like? Memory? Will? (412)

90. What role does the metaphor Perceiving Is Receiving play? Ideas Are Objects? Thinking is Object Construction? Thinking is Mathematical Calculation? Feeling Is a Force? Reason Is a Force? (412)

91. What is "part of the genius of the folk theory"? (413)

92. How is this theory still influential? (413-14)

93. In what respects is this model empirically false? (414)