George Lakoff–Videos

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george_lakoff

    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“Angry people are not nice people. They are people to stay away from. They explode now and then.”

George Lakoff: Moral Politics

 

Authors@Google: George Lakoff

 

Authors@Google: George Lakoff

 

Linguist George Lakoff on Rationality and Politics

 

The Political Mind and the Obama Code with Dr. George Lakoff

 

Part One: George Lakoff speaking at McNally Robinson

 

Part One: George Lakoff speaking at McNally Robinson Part 2

 

Part One: George Lakoff speaking at McNally Robinson Part 3

 

Part One: George Lakoff speaking at McNally Robinson Part 4

 

Part One: George Lakoff speaking at McNally Robinson Part 5

 

Part One: George Lakoff speaking at McNally Robinson Part 6

 

How Dems Are Failing to Sell Health Care Reform – George Lakoff

 

The Myth of the Political Moderate – George Lakoff

 

George Lakoff – Does Capitalism Always Lead to Democracy?

 

The Left, the Right, and the Family View of Government

 

Bringing Progressive Politics Back To The People Part 3

 

 

George Lakoff on how he started his work on conceptual metaphor

george_lakoff

 

 

Background Articles and Videos

George Lakoff

“…George P. Lakoff (pronounced /ˈleɪkɒf/, born May 24, 1941) is an American cognitive linguist and professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972. Although some of his research involves questions traditionally pursued by linguists, such as the conditions under which a certain linguistic construction is grammatically viable, he is most famous for his ideas about the centrality of metaphor to human thinking, political behavior and society. He is particularly famous for his concept of the “embodied mind”, which he has written about in relation to mathematics. In recent years he has applied his work to the realm of politics, exploring this in his books. He was the founder of the now defunct progressive think tank the Rockridge Institute.[1][2]

Lakoff began his career as a student and later a teacher of the theory of transformational grammar developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Noam Chomsky. In the late 1960s, however, he joined with others to promote generative semantics as an alternative to Chomsky’s generative syntax. In an interview he stated:

During that period, I was attempting to unify Chomsky’s transformational grammar with formal logic. I had helped work out a lot of the early details of Chomsky’s theory of grammar. Noam claimed then — and still does, so far as I can tell — that syntax is independent of meaning, context, background knowledge, memory, cognitive processing, communicative intent, and every aspect of the body…In working through the details of his early theory, I found quite a few cases where semantics, context, and other such factors entered into rules governing the syntactic occurrences of phrases and morphemes. I came up with the beginnings of an alternative theory in 1963 and, along with wonderful collaborators like Haj Ross and Jim McCawley, developed it through the sixties.[1]

Lakoff’s claim that Chomsky claims independence between syntax and semantics has been rejected by Chomsky and he has given examples from within his work where he talks about the relationship between his semantics and syntax. Chomsky goes further and claims that Lakoff has “virtually no comprehension of the work he is discussing” (the work in question being Chomsky’s) [3]. His differences with Chomsky contributed to fierce, acrimonious debates among linguists that have come to be known as the “linguistics wars”.

Lakoff’s original thesis on conceptual metaphor was expressed in his book with Mark Johnson entitled Metaphors We Live By in 1980.

Metaphor has been seen within the Western scientific tradition as purely a linguistic construction. The essential thrust of Lakoff’s work has been the argument that metaphors are primarily a conceptual construction, and indeed are central to the development of thought. He says, “Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.” Non-metaphorical thought is for Lakoff only possible when we talk about purely physical reality. For Lakoff the greater the level of abstraction the more layers of metaphor are required to express it. People do not notice these metaphors for various reasons. One reason is that some metaphors become ‘dead’ and we no longer recognize their origin. Another reason is that we just don’t “see” what is “going on”.

For instance, in intellectual debate the underlying metaphor is usually that argument is war (later revised as “argument is struggle”):

  • He won the argument.
  • Your claims are indefensible.
  • He shot down all my arguments.
  • His criticisms were right on target.
  • If you use that strategy, he’ll wipe you out.

For Lakoff, the development of thought has been the process of developing better metaphors. The application of one domain of knowledge to another domain of knowledge offers new perceptions and understandings.

Lakoff’s theory has applications throughout all academic disciplines and much of human social interaction. Lakoff has explored some of the implications of the embodied mind thesis in a number of books, most written with coauthors….”

“…

Lakoff’s application of cognitive linguistics to politics, literature, philosophy and mathematics has led him into territory normally considered basic to political science.

Lakoff has publicly expressed both ideas about the conceptual structures that he views as central to understanding the political process, and some of his particular political views. He almost always discusses the latter in terms of the former.

Moral Politics gives book-length consideration to the conceptual metaphors that Lakoff sees as present in the minds of American “liberals” and “conservatives”. The book is a blend of cognitive science and political analysis. Lakoff makes an attempt to keep his personal views confined to the last third of the book, where he explicitly argues for the superiority of the liberal vision.[2]

Lakoff argues that the differences in opinions between liberals and conservatives follow from the fact that they subscribe with different strength to two different metaphors about the relationship of the state to its citizens. Both, he claims, see governance through metaphors of the family. Conservatives would subscribe more strongly and more often to a model that he calls the “strict father model” and has a family structured around a strong, dominant “father” (government), and assumes that the “children” (citizens) need to be disciplined to be made into responsible “adults” (morality, self-financing). Once the “children” are “adults”, though, the “father” should not interfere with their lives: the government should stay out of the business of those in society who have proved their responsibility. In contrast, Lakoff argues that liberals place more support in a model of the family, which he calls the “nurturant parent model”, based on “nurturant values”, where both “mothers” and “fathers” work to keep the essentially good “children” away from “corrupting influences” (pollution, social injustice, poverty, etc.). Lakoff says that most people have a blend of both metaphors applied at different times, and that political speech works primarily by invoking these metaphors and urging the subscription of one over the other.[4]

Lakoff further argues that one of the reasons liberals have had difficulty since the 1980s is that they have not been as aware of their own guiding metaphors, and have too often accepted conservative terminology framed in a way to promote the strict father metaphor. Lakoff insists that liberals must cease using terms like partial birth abortion and tax relief because they are manufactured specifically to allow the possibilities of only certain types of opinions. Tax relief for example, implies explicitly that taxes are an affliction, something someone would want “relief” from. To use the terms of another metaphoric worldview, Lakoff insists, is to unconsciously support it. Liberals must support linguistic think tanks in the same way that conservatives do if they are going to succeed in appealing to those in the country who share their metaphors.[5]

Lakoff has distributed some much briefer political analyses via the Internet. One article distributed this way is “Metaphor and War: The Metaphor System Used to Justify War in the Gulf”, in which Lakoff argues that the particular conceptual metaphors used by the first Bush administration to justify American involvement in the Gulf ended up either obscuring reality, or putting a spin on the facts that was accommodating to the administration’s case for military action.

In recent years, Lakoff has become involved with a progressive think tank, the Rockridge Institute, an involvement that follows in part from his recommendations in Moral Politics. Among his activities with the Institute, which concentrates in part on helping liberal candidates and politicians with re-framing political metaphors, Lakoff has given numerous public lectures and written accounts of his message from Moral Politics. In 2008, Lakoff joined Fenton Communications, the nation’s largest public interest communications firm, as a Senior Consultant.

One of his political works, Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, self-labeled as “the Essential Guide for Progressives”, was published in September 2004 and features a foreword by former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Lakoff

 

Framing the issues: UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff tells how conservatives use language to dominate politics

 

“…In 2000 Lakoff and seven other faculty members from Berkeley and UC Davis joined together to found the Rockridge Institute, one of the few progressive think tanks in existence in the U.S. The institute offers its expertise and research on a nonpartisan basis to help progressives understand how best to get their messages across. The Richard & Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the College of Letters & Science, Lakoff is the author of “Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think,” first published in 1997 and reissued in 2002, as well as several other books on how language affects our lives. He is taking a sabbatical this year to write three books – none about politics – and to work on several Rockridge Institute research projects. …”

“…The background for Rockridge is that conservatives, especially conservative think tanks, have framed virtually every issue from their perspective. They have put a huge amount of money into creating the language for their worldview and getting it out there. Progressives have done virtually nothing. Even the new Center for American Progress, the think tank that John Podesta [former chief of staff for the Clinton administration] is setting up, is not dedicated to this at all. I asked Podesta who was going to do the Center’s framing. He got a blank look, thought for a second and then said, “You!” Which meant they haven’t thought about it at all. And that’s the problem. Liberals don’t get it. They don’t understand what it is they have to be doing.

Rockridge’s job is to reframe public debate, to create balance from a progressive perspective. It’s one thing to analyze language and thought, it’s another thing to create it. That’s what we’re about. It’s a matter of asking ‘What are the central ideas of progressive thought from a moral perspective?’

How does language influence the terms of political debate?

Language always comes with what is called “framing.” Every word is defined relative to a conceptual framework. If you have something like “revolt,” that implies a population that is being ruled unfairly, or assumes it is being ruled unfairly, and that they are throwing off their rulers, which would be considered a good thing. That’s a frame. …”

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/10/27_lakoff.shtml

 

George P. Lakoff

Professor

“…Cognitive linguistics, especially the neural theory of language. Conceptual systems, conceptual metaphor, syntax-semantics-pragmatics. The application of cognitive and neural linguistics to politics, literature, philosophy and mathematics. …”

http://linguistics.berkeley.edu/people/person_detail.php?person=21

 

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