Metaphors and Action Schemes: Some Themes in Intellectual History

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Bucknell University Press, 1997 - History - 281 pages
All our abstract ideas are based on metaphors and action schemes. Jean Piaget did voluminous research on how thought develops in children through assimilation of action schemes. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson have done pioneering work on metaphors and action schemes in everyday thinking. This book builds on those foundations, looking at the role played by metaphors and action schemes in the history of ideas. The author begins his argument by taking a critical look at the philosophy of metaphor from Aristotle to the present. While he sees metaphor as simply conceiving one thing in terms of another, he points out that this is an inexhaustible process, because the context in which the process takes place is always changing. Change opens up new possibilities of similarity. Thus, the metaphor is an open door into a space of infinite possibilities.

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Contents

The Nature of Metaphor
21
Metaphor and Intellectual History
43
Action Schemes and Topological Transformations
65
The Ancient World
86
The Medieval Period
117
The Renaissance
133
The Enlightenment to 1900
154
The Twentieth Century
181
Glossary of Metaphors and Schemes
216
Notes
229
Bibliography
261
Index
278
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Page 124 - Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God.
Page 235 - We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result.
Page 235 - The words or the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The psychical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be "voluntarily
Page 105 - The work of the creator, whenever he looks to the unchangeable and fashions the form and nature of his work after an unchangeable pattern, must necessarily be made fair and perfect; but when he looks to the created only, and uses a created pattern, it is not fair or perfect.
Page 22 - This power, first put in action by the will and understanding, and retained under their irremissive, though gentle and unnoticed, control (laxis effertur habenis} reveals itself in the balance or reconciliation of opposite or discordant qualities...
Page 22 - ... opposite or discordant qualities: of sameness, with difference; of the general, with the concrete; the idea, with the image; the individual, with the representative; the sense of novelty and freshness, with old and familiar objects; a more than usual state of emotion, with more than usual order...
Page 57 - To whom the patriarch of mankind replied : O favourable spirit, propitious guest, Well hast thou taught the way that might direct Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set From centre to circumference, whereon, In contemplation of created things, By steps we may ascend to God.
Page 78 - The utmost we say of them, even when they operate with greatest vigor, is, that they represent their object in so lively a manner, that we could almost .say we feel or see it : but, except the mind be disordered by disease or madness, they never can arrive at. such a pitch of vivacity, as to render these perceptions altogether undistinguishable. All the colors of poetry, however splendid, can never paint natural objects in such a manner as to make the description be taken for a real landscape. The...

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