eHandout 5 - Metaphors and Morality

eHandout 5 - Metaphors and Morality - e Handout...

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Unformatted text preview: e Handout Business & Professional Ethics No. 5 1 Dr. David E. McClean Metaphors and Morality I have admired George Lakoffs work for several years. Not only is it a way to help explain the political differences between groups (liberals and conservatives, in particular), but it also helps us explain why we may gravitate to one moral or ethical perspective versus another. Again, Dr. Jan Garrett has a good summary of Lakoffs views here, which I have lightly edited. The books he references are recommended for further reading beyond this course. --------- This set of notes owes much to George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Lakoff and Johnson are authors of Philosophy in the Flesh , 1999, and Lakoff is the author of Moral Politics , 2002. Almost all of these ideas on this web page are found in these two books. Some of the material in Moral Politics may be found online in Lakoff's Metaphor, Morality and Politics . These are lecture notes, not for direct quotation in scholarly work. Use careful paraphrase if you need to repeat some of the ideas you find here. 1. Elementary examples of moral metaphor If you have $1000 and I give you another $1000, you have gained in wealth. Now suppose you immensely admire Oprah and would just love to be her guest to discuss something you've done and don't mind sharing with others. And, voila, now you have the chance. You are "happier" after the news than you were before. You think of yourself as gaining, not losing. These examples show that, on the common sense level (before philosophical reflection) we often conceive well-being in the same terms as wealth. You can gain and you can lose well-being just as you can gain and lose wealth. Originally wealth is meaningful in the area of possessions and money, but we apply the idea metaphorically in non-financial matters as well. Suppose Jason does some good thing for Mark, e.g., finds and returns some valuable misplaced object; we say that Mark owes Jason something, or Mark is in Jason's debt. This is another example of metaphor. "Owe" is used in a metaphorical sense; it's original home would seem to be financial relationship, but it is being applied in other areas, e.g., personal well-being or human obligation. e Handout Business & Professional Ethics No. 5 2 Dr. David E. McClean 2. Key terms a. Conceptual metaphor A conceptual metaphor (or just a metaphor, for short) is a customary or culturally agreed-upon ("conventional") way of understanding one domain in terms of another. The two domains are called Source Domain and Target Domain. In our example, the SD, from which the metaphor comes, is financial. The TD, to which the metaphor is applied, is non-financial personal relationships....
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2012 for the course PHIL 201 taught by Professor Unknown during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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eHandout 5 - Metaphors and Morality - e Handout...

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