The body in literature: Mark Johnson, metaphor, and feeling

(1997)
Abstract
An inadequate grasp of the role of imagination has vitiated understanding of human cognition in western thinking. Extending a project initiated with George Lakoff in _Metaphors we Live By_ (1980), Mark Johnson's book _The Body in the Mind_ (1987) offers the claim that all thinking originates in bodily experience. A range of schemata formed during our early experience manipulating a physical world of surfaces, distances, and forces, lays the foundation of later, more abstract modes of thought. In presenting his argument, Johnson lays special stress on the qualities and dynamics of the image schemata, the (generally unnoticed) metaphoricity of the transformations underlying abstract thought, and the new significance that should be attributed to the imagination, which is the general term Johnson wishes to claim for the mental processes he expounds. In this paper I draw attention to the importance of Johnson's insights for understanding literary response. In particular, I will show how a typical procedure of literary texts involves bringing to awareness image schemata of the kind that Johnson describes. At the same time, several problems in Johnson's account which limit its usefulness will also be examined: an undue reliance upon the spatial properties of schemata; a conflation of dead with live or poetic metaphors; and a neglect of other bodily influences on thought, especially kinaesthetic and affective aspects. These problems, for example, limit the usefulness of Johnson's attempt to build on Kant's theory of imagination. In comparison with Coleridge, who also attempted to build on Kant, Johnson is unable to overcome the formalism of Kant's theory. Coleridge's account of imagination, I will suggest, provides a better foundation for examining the bodily basis of meaning, while remaining compatible with Johnson's intentions and his more valuable insights.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,337
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

20 ( #81,233 of 1,096,600 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #258,571 of 1,096,600 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.