In their book "Metaphors We Live By," George Lakoff and Mark Johnson explore the importance of what they call "conceptual metaphors." Metaphors are often employed to understand more complex and abstract concepts in simpler, more concrete terms. Take the expression “She demolished his argument.” Perhaps not even consciously, this expression sees invalidating someone’s argument in overtly destructive terms that sounds more like a war than a friendly debate. This argument-as-war metaphor ends up not only shaping our language in the way we view argument--as a battle to be won--but also in how we engage in argument. Argument can be seen in other ways than a battle, but to understand it in those terms, we would need to develop different conceptual metaphors to do so. The purpose of this talk would be to explore how different figures of speech infiltrate and “contaminate” how we think. (As atheists, we may still be prisoners of a language created in a theist context--similar to how we still speak of sun"rise" even though we know, intellectually, the earth is what is spinning, relative to the sun.)
For anyone who wants to learn more about this topic, here is a list of resources:
After the talk, we'll have a group discussion to explore the ideas presented, and to share related thoughts, resources, and personal experiences.