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A Folk Model of the «Internal Self» in Light of the Contemporary View of Metaphor

The Self as Subject and Object


Hans-Georg Wolf

Based on Lakoff and Johnson's theory of metaphor, the author analyzes and criticizes the Western model of the «Internal Self», constituted by a system of not unifiable but reifying metaphors. Both experts (psychologists, philosophers, etc.) and lay persons draw upon this model when they refer to the self. The reification of the self into separate entities leads to contradictions in the futile attempt to bridge the subject-object gap. The work points to social constructionism as an alternative language game that may help us overcome the confusions intrinsic to our present conceptualization of the self.
Contents: Social Constructionism - Lakoff and Johnson's theory of metaphor - A cultural model of the «self» - The self as entity vs. the self in language - The self as a universe - As a closed and as a penetrable system - As a distant observer.