Publication details [#5363]

Green, Christopher D. and John Vervaeke. 1997. The experience of objects and the objects of experience. Metaphor and Symbol 12 (1) : 3–17. 15 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


George Lakoff's (1987) work has been a major force in the recent effort to redefine the study of concept formation, semantics, metaphor, and ultimately all of scientific psychology. In place of the traditional objectivist account of these domains, Lakoff offered experientialism, a position that has become increasingly popular in a wide array of psychological subspecialties over the last several years. We believe that Lakoff s account of the relation between experientialism and objectivism is fundamentally flawed. The primary sources of the problem are an equivocation in his account of objectivism and a misunderstanding of the relation between classification schemes and truth. Moreover, we argue that a suitably sophisticated form of objectivism can subsume experience under its aegis (and that psychology might be impossible otherwise). In any case, we try to show that the alternative account of semantics he provided fails because it falls prey to precisely the same criticism he considered crucial to the refutation of traditional semantics. (Christopher Green and John Vervaeke)