Conceptual Metaphors and the Goals of Philosophy

In Hans-Georg and Moeller & Andrew Whitehead (eds.), Wisdom and Philosophy Contemporary and Comparative Approaches. London, New York: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 205-222 (2016)
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Abstract

Conceptual metaphor theory provides a useful tool with which to think about different philosophical traditions, as it can reveal the deep structure of networks of ideas. Conceptual metaphors are not just linguistic devices, rather they organise whole networks of thought, experience and activity. Paying special attention to the role of the metaphor of sight in certain Indian traditions and that of Dao in Chinese traditions, I explore the idea that different philosophical traditions have developed and matured around particular conceptual metaphors, each giving rise to a distinctive conception of both the practice and the goal of philosophy. I suggest that what it means to practice philosophy in these traditions is governed by the dominant conceptual metaphor in use. I consider the implications of this for the traditional Western conception of philosophy as the love of wisdom. I conclude with some reflections on analytic philosophy, considering to what extent it too can be regarded as a philosophical tradition structured by a dominant conceptual metaphor.

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Victoria S. Harrison
University of Macau

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