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LINGUIST List 16.1943

Thu Jun 23 2005

Disc: Modified Re: 16.1856, Review of Haser (2005)

Editor for this issue: Michael Appleby <michaellinguistlist.org>

To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html.
        1.    Fiona MacArthur, Re:16.1810, Review: Philosophy of Lang/Semantics: Haser (2005)

Message 1: Re:16.1810, Review: Philosophy of Lang/Semantics: Haser (2005)
Date: 23-Jun-2005
From: Fiona MacArthur <fionamacunex.es>
Subject: Re:16.1810, Review: Philosophy of Lang/Semantics: Haser (2005)

[Editor's note: A part of this message was omitted when it was
originally posted in LINGUIST 16.1856. The corrected text is below.
We apologize for the error.]

I am not the author of the work reviewed in the Linguist List posting
16.1810, but would nevertheless like to open a discussion of the
review and the work discussed. The following are my comments:

The review offered on LinguistList of Haser's Metaphor, Metonymy,
and Experientialist Philosophy does less than justice to this book. If it
is to be expected that among the purposes of such reviews are an
assessment of the contribution of a work to a particular field of enquiry
and an identification of its interest to a potential audience, then the
reviewer has misrepresented the work on both counts. Rather than
offering a critical evaluation of Haser's contribution to cognitive
semantics (as the subtitle indicates, her aim is to "challenge" prevalent
views), the reviewer appears to suggest that Haser simply repeats
and accepts current views on metaphor and metonymy and their
relationship with human understanding. This is reflected in the fact
that only on one occasion in the whole review (in the Evaluation
section) does the reviewer cite the author whose work she is
discussing, while she makes direct and indirect reference at least
fourteen times to authors such as Lakoff and Johnson, Radden and
Kövecses or Grady. This might suggest that Haser's book would be a
good work to offer undergraduates as an introduction to the field of
cognitive semantics -"a useful presentation of modern authors", as the
author says at the end of the review. This misrepresents the
contribution of Haser's book, ignoring the fact that some very
important points are raised in her discussion of the relationship
between experiential semantics and traditional Western philosophy,
among other issues. For example, no mention is made in the review of
Haser's alternative accounts of the distinction between metaphor and
metonymy or the reasons why we find thematically related clusters of
metaphorical expressions. Far from echoing the views of Lakoff and
Johnson (1980), as the reviewer implies, Haser offers an explanation
that has little if anything to do with conceptual metaphor theory.

Given that the springboard for many of Haser's arguments is the close
attention she has paid to the founding texts of cognitive semantics
(particularly the contradictions and misrepresentations she uncovers
in these works), it is ironic that this author's own work should have
been read with so little of the close attention it undoubtedly deserves.
It is not necessary to agree or disagree with the author's views on
metaphor and metonymy to recognise that her work provides a
stimulating contribution to debate in this particular field of inquiry.
However, the reviewer in question appears to be unaware of what this
comprises (and indeed of developments in the field generally) and
hence fails to adequately inform potential readers of what it is that the
book offers and why linguists may or may not want to read it.

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
Philosophy of Language

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