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About George Lakoff
George Lakoff is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972. He previously taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan. He graduated from MIT in 1962 (in Mathematics and Literature) and received his PhD in Linguistics from Indiana University in 1966. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Don't Think of an Elephant!, among other works, and is America’s leading expert on the framing of political ideas.
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In this updated edition of Lakoff and Johnson's influential book, the authors supply an afterword surveying how their theory of metaphor has developed within the cognitive sciences to become central to the contemporary understanding of how we think and how we express our thoughts in language.
“[Lakoff is] the father of framing.”—The New York Times
“An indispensable tool for progressives—packed with new thinking on framing issues that are hotly debated right now."—Jennifer M. Granholm, former governor of Michigan
Ten years after writing the definitive, international bestselling book on political debate and messaging, George Lakoff returns with new strategies about how to frame today’s essential issues.
Called the “father of framing” by The New York Times, Lakoff explains how framing is about ideas—ideas that come before policy, ideas that make sense of facts, ideas that are proactive not reactive, positive not negative, ideas that need to be communicated out loud every day in public.
The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant! picks up where the original book left off—delving deeper into how framing works, how framing has evolved in the past decade, how to speak to people who harbor elements of both progressive and conservative worldviews, how to counter propaganda and slogans, and more.
In this updated and expanded edition, Lakoff, urges progressives to go beyond the typical laundry list of facts, policies, and programs and present a clear moral vision to the country—one that is traditionally American and can become a guidepost for developing compassionate, effective policy that upholds citizens’ well-being and freedom.
Lakoff reveals radically different but remarkably consistent conceptions of morality on both the left and right. Moral worldviews, like most deep ways of understanding the world, are unconscious—part of our “hard-wired” brain circuitry. When confronted with facts that don’t fit our moral worldview, our brains work automatically and unconsciously to ignore or reject these facts, and it takes extraordinary openness and awareness of this phenomenon to pay critical attention to the vast number of facts we are presented with each day. For this new edition, Lakoff has added a new preface and afterword, extending his observations to major ideological conflicts since the book's original publication, from the Affordable Care Act to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recent financial crisis, and the effects of global warming. One might have hoped such massive changes would bring people together, but the reverse has actually happened; the divide between liberals and conservatives has become stronger and more virulent.
To have any hope of bringing mutual respect to the current social and political divide, we need to clearly understand the problem and make it part of our contemporary public discourse. Moral Politics offers a much-needed wake-up call to both the left and the right.
The answers are profound. They have to do with how our minds and brains work. Political attitudes are the product of what cognitive scientists call Embodied Cognition — the grounding of abstract thought in everyday world experience. Clashing beliefs about how to run nations largely arise from conflicting beliefs about family life: conservatives endorse a strict father and liberals a nurturant parent model. So-called "middle" voters are not in the middle at all. They are morally biconceptual, divided between both models, and as a result highly susceptible to moral political persuasion.
In this brief introduction, Lakoff and Wehling reveal how cognitive science research has advanced our understanding of political thought and language, forcing us to revise common folk theories about the rational voter.
Voters cast their ballots for what they believe is right, for the things that make moral sense. Yet Democrats have too often failed to use language linking their moral values with their policies. The Little Blue Book demonstrates how to make that connection clearly and forcefully, with hands-on advice for discussing the most pressing issues of our time: the economy, health care, women’s issues, energy and environmental policy, education, food policy, and more. Dissecting the ways that extreme conservative positions have permeated political discourse, Lakoff and Wehling show how to fight back on moral grounds and in concrete terms. Revelatory, passionate, and deeply practical, The Little Blue Book will forever alter the way Democrats and progressives think and talk about politics.
"In this bold and powerful book, Lakoff and Turner continue their use of metaphor to show how our minds get hold of the world. They have achieved nothing less than a postmodern Understanding Poetry, a new way of reading and teaching that makes poetry again important." — Norman Holland, University of Florida
Two years ago George Lakoff published the bestselling Don't Think of an Elephant! Its account of the conservative monopoly on effective framing touched off a national discussion about political language. It also gave rise to a chorus of pleas for more:
* What is the progressive vision of America;
* Why progressive values are America's values;
* How frames are necessary to serve the truth;
* Why sloganeering alone doesn't work;
* How progressives trap themselves and how they can escape those traps; and
* How political arguments and narratives can be put together to counter the Right.
Thinking Points satisfies that call with a bold, concise, and systematic explanation of how conservatives think and use language—and how progressives can fight back . Lakoff and the Rockridge Institute offer a new understanding of the so-called political center and explain why the most effective way to appeal to those who identify themselves as moderates or conservatives is to remain true to progressive values.
This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to participate in shaping an America that serves the common good.