Chap­ters 9 and 10 look at groups of meta­phors and cogni­ti­ve cohe­rence. For exam­p­le, the meta­phor »time« at first appears inco­her­ent in the­se examp­les: as we go fur­ther into the 1980s, we’re approa­ching the end of the year. Yet at clo­ser look we see that the two examp­les are sub­ca­ses of the meta­phor: time pas­ses us—from front to back. Case one: time is a moving object and moves toward us, and case two: time is sta­tio­na­ry and we move in the direc­tion of the future. The next three examp­les also seem to be a mixed group: It’s been a long, bum­py road, our mar­ria­ge is on the rocks, we’ve got­ten off the track. The­se three examp­les are again sub­ca­ses for the meta­phor: love is a jour­ney, and the meta­phor remains coher­ent whe­ther the jour­ney is in a car, boat or train.

Chap­ters 14 and 15 not only look at cau­sa­ti­on, but at how peo­p­le form and struc­tu­re their con­cepts. For exam­p­le Lakoff and John­son refe­rence the term »pro­to­ty­pe« from Ele­a­n­or Rosch[2] (For desi­gners the term »arche­ty­pe« may be more appro­pria­te) as the cen­tral or defi­ning mem­ber of a cate­go­ry. »Her expe­ri­ments indi­ca­te that peo­p­le cate­go­ri­ze objects not in set theo­re­ti­cal terms, but in terms of pro­to­ty­pes and fami­ly resem­blan­ces. For exam­p­le, small fly­ing sin­ging birds, like spar­rows, robins etc., are pro­to­ty­pi­cal birds. Chi­ckens, ost­ri­ches, and pen­gu­ins are birds but are not cen­tral mem­bers of the category—they are non­pro­to­ty­pi­cal birds.« (p. 71) This idea is cen­tral to how we form, iden­ti­fy and use meta­pho­ri­cal con­cepts. The­re are pro­to­ty­pi­cal expe­ri­en­ces that form the core of the meta­phor and then simi­lar expe­ri­en­ces orga­ni­zed in rela­ti­on to the core. Chap­ter 15 intro­du­ces the term »natu­ral dimen­si­on of expe­ri­ence« as a way of show­ing how con­cepts fit to expe­ri­ence. Natu­ral dimen­si­ons are recur­ring fea­tures of an expe­ri­ence that we use to defi­ne them. In their words: »The con­cept (say, con­ver­sa­ti­on) spe­ci­fies cer­tain natu­ral dimen­si­ons (e.g., par­ti­ci­pan­ts, parts, stages, etc.) and how the­se dimen­si­ons are rela­ted. The­re is a cor­re­la­ti­on, dimen­si­on by dimen­si­on, bet­ween the con­cept con­ver­sa­ti­on and the aspects of the actu­al acti­vi­ty of con­ver­sing.« (p. 83). Here we have the idea of how we use cha­rac­te­ristic fea­tures of expe­ri­en­ces to iden­ti­fy them as distinct con­cepts. A con­ver­sa­ti­on, for exam­p­le, invol­ves (has the cha­rac­te­ristic fea­tures of) at least two peo­p­le (par­ti­ci­pan­ts) taking turns tal­king, with the inten­ti­on of rea­ching mutu­al under­stan­ding. Some of the­se con­cepts are easi­ly obser­ved with objects, envi­ron­ments or acti­vi­ties. »Domains of expe­ri­ence that are orga­ni­zed as gestalts in terms of such natu­ral dimen­si­ons seem to us to be natu­ral kinds of expe­ri­ence. They are natu­ral in the fol­lo­wing sen­se: The­se kinds of expe­ri­en­ces are a pro­duct of: Our bodies … our inter­ac­tions with our phy­si­cal envi­ron­ment … Our inter­ac­tions with other peo­p­le within our cul­tu­re …« (p. 117) Fur­ther­mo­re cer­tain abs­tract con­cepts like love, time or under­stan­ding are almost always unders­tood or defi­ned in terms of more direct or natu­ral con­cepts, hence meta­pho­ri­cal­ly. Rather than see­ing the­se cate­go­ries as fixed the aut­hors see them as expe­ri­ence based and open ended.

Lakoff and John­son also link the form of expres­si­ons to mea­ning: »For exam­p­le the con­duit meta­phor defi­nes a spa­ti­al rela­ti­onship bet­ween form and con­tent … When we see actu­al con­tai­ners that are small we expect their con­tents to be small. When we see actu­al con­tai­ners that are lar­ge, we nor­mal­ly expect their con­tents to be lar­ge. App­ly­ing this to the con­duit meta­phor, we get the expec­ta­ti­on: more of form is more of con­tent.« (chap­ter 20, p. 127) The aut­hors then give many illus­tra­ti­ve examp­les: »He ran and ran and ran and ran is more run­ning than he ran.… Say­ing: He is bi-i-i-i-ig! indi­ca­tes that he is big­ger than you indi­ca­te when you say just: He is big.« (p. 127–8)

In the last chap­ters of the book, the aut­hors con­ti­nue to anchor their argu­ments in the way we struc­tu­re con­cepts based on our expe­ri­ence in terms of cau­sa­ti­on, cohe­rence and truth. What seem to be a straight­for­ward ide­as chall­enge cer­tain tra­di­ti­ons in wes­tern phi­lo­so­phy and lin­gu­i­stics. Lakoff and John­son build a careful and thoughtful case for their posi­ti­on and illus­tra­te their points with many vivid and reve­al­ing examples.