Do concepts exist?

I like lightning strikes. As an event they are dramatic and violent. They cause damage and they may even kill. But I cannot “catch” a lightning strike like I can catch a lion or a tiger. It is an event, process, action of a thing, not a thing in itself.

It is language that “catches” it as a thing. We call it a lightning strike. We conceive it that way. But we do not “catch” it that way.

Lakoff and Johnson, revolutionised our understanding words with Metaphors We Live By. The book gave us the concept of conceptual metaphor, showing how all language can be metaphorical. It is not just a device literary writers but something that is inescapable as language. Apart from “literal statements” whatever that may be we have no recourse but to use metaphors.

Do concepts exist?

There are concepts, and concepts of concepts, but not the thing – concept.

Just like lightning strikes they are not things, but processes of things. A lightning strike is the conditions that make the process. Sequence of occurrences that have not “catchable” quality. Unlike lions which are catchable, cage-able.

There is no thing of concepts.

And just like the ‘is’ in the previous sentence is illogical to say there exists a negative. Materially impossible, conceptually create-able. Parmenides found this same problem and concluded that everything must be one. I do not think he drew the right conclusion.

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