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George Lakoff
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George Lakoff is theAuthor, The Political Mind, Moral Politics and Don't Think of an Elephant!, Whose Freedom?, and Thinking Points (with the Rockridge Institute staff). He is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley.

Entries by George Lakoff

Democratic Strategies Lost Big. Here's an Alternative.

(57) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 8:50 AM

It is time to shine a light on the strategies used by Democrats, and on the Democratic infrastructure that uses those strategies.

Democratic strategists have been segmenting the electorate and seeking individual self-interest-based issues in each electoral block. The strategists also keep suggesting a move to the right. This...

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Charles Fillmore, Discoverer of Frame Semantics, Dies in SF at 84: He Figured Out How Framing Works

(9) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 8:49 AM

Charles J. Fillmore, one of the world's greatest linguists -- ever -- died last Thursday, February 13, at the age of 84 in San Francisco. He was the discoverer of frame semantics, who did the essential research on the nature of framing in thought and language. He discovered that we...

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SOTU 2014: The Cognitive Power of the President

(21) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 8:10 AM

There are enough people guessing what the president will do. This is about what he almost certainly won't do, but what I would like him to do.

The president has material power without the Congress, and personally, I would like to see him use it. He could issue an executive...

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The New York Times Uncovers Conservative Attacks and Then Prints One; Both Are on the Front Page

(489) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 3:58 PM

The NY Times has many virtues and some important flaws. Both were evident on the paper's front page this week and there is a lot to be learned by what did and did not appear there.

For decades, Republican conservatives have constructed and carried out extensive, well-planned, long-term communication...

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La Siria e la causalità sistemica: il problema del framing di Obama

(14) Comments | Posted September 15, 2013 | 7:27 AM

Ogni lingua del mondo ha, nella sua grammatica, un modo per esprimere la causalità diretta: l'applicazione locale di una forza che produce un effetto locale, circoscritto nel tempo e nello spazio. Prendiamo un bicchiere d'acqua e lo beviamo: causalità diretta. Bombardiamo un ospedale, lo distruggiamo e uccidiamo le persone al...

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Systemic Causation and Syria: Obama's Framing Problem

(482) Comments | Posted September 13, 2013 | 9:10 AM

This is the second of two articles analyzing the mode of thought and the language in public discourse on Syria from the perspective of cognitive science and linguistics.

Every language in the world has a way in its grammar to express direct causation: a local application of force...

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Obama Reframes Syria: Metaphor and War Revisited

(525) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 9:37 AM

President Obama has reframed his position on Syria, adjusting the Red Line metaphor: It wasn't his Red Line, not his responsibility for drawing it. It was the Red Line drawn by the world, by the international community -- both legally by international treaty, and morally by universal revulsion against the...

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Why Ultra-Conservatives Like the Sequester

(1693) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 8:54 AM

Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, Robert Reich and other major economists have pointed out that the deficit is not an urgent economic problem and that, to the contrary, the economy would be helped by an increase in public investment and harmed by drastic cuts. The Sequester would hurt the economy, millions...

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How the State of the Union Worked

(562) Comments | Posted February 15, 2013 | 8:27 AM

Political journalists have a job to do -- to examine the SOTU's long list of proposals. They are doing that job, many are doing it well, and I'll leave it to them. Instead, I want to discuss what in the long run is a deeper question: How did the SOTU...

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The Price of Our Freedom

(647) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 7:45 AM

"Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?" -- Barack Obama, Newtown Address, December 16, 2012

That sentence, uttered by President Obama in his Newtown Address, may turn out to be...

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Michigan's New Corporate Servitude Law: It Takes Away Worker Rights

(1667) Comments | Posted December 13, 2012 | 9:00 AM

Michigan has just passed a corporate servitude law. It is designed to take away many of the worker rights that unions have conferred throughout their history: the right to a living wage. The right to equal pay for women. The right to deferred payments in the form of pensions. The...

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Why It's Hard to Replace the 'Fiscal Cliff' Metaphor

(195) Comments | Posted December 3, 2012 | 7:48 AM

Writers on economics have been talking since the election about why the "fiscal cliff" metaphor is misleading. Alternative metaphors have been offered like the fiscal hill, fiscal curb, and fiscal showdown, as if one metaphor could easily be replaced by another that makes more...

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Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy

(1251) Comments | Posted October 30, 2012 | 12:04 PM

Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy -- and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world. Let's say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung...

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Liderazgo moral: lo que tiene que demostrar Obama en el debate, y muy en serio

(3) Comments | Posted October 16, 2012 | 11:46 AM

Según Nate Silver, experto en encuestas de The New York Times, "las encuestas instantáneas hechas tras el debate sugieren entre un empate y una modesta victoria para el vicepresidente Joseph R. Biden Jr".

Biden aguantó el tipo y quizá incluso más. Y era importante. Pero el presidente Obama...

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Moral Leadership: What Obama Has to Show Tomorrow in the Debate Performance, and for Real

(618) Comments | Posted October 15, 2012 | 9:15 AM

As Nate Silver, NY Times polling expert put it, "Instant polls conducted after the debate are suggestive of something between a tie and a modest win for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr."

Biden held his own and maybe a bit more. That was important. But President Obama...

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Why Obama Lost the First Debate

(127) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 9:20 AM

Coauthor (with Elisabeth Wehling) of The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic. www.thelittleblueblog.org


You don't win a presidential debate by being a policy wonk. Obama violated all the basics of presidential debating. The best defense is a good offense....

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What to Watch for in the Presidential Debates

(5) Comments | Posted October 2, 2012 | 9:49 AM

Co-author (with Elisabeth Wehling) of The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic

I've been applying cognitive linguistics and neuroscience to politics in six books over the past two decades. The ideas in those books were on display in many of the...

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Romney's Apology Frame

(102) Comments | Posted September 17, 2012 | 11:20 AM

TheLittleBlueBlog.org

Authors of THE LITTLE BLUE BOOK: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic

Mitt Romney responded to the recent Cairo events with an apology frame. America, he said, must never apologize for its values, and he claimed that the Obama administration was apologizing when it pointed...

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Romney, Ryan and the Devil's Budget: Will America Keep Its Soul?

(993) Comments | Posted August 22, 2012 | 9:22 AM

America was born with a great soul, a moral view of Democracy in which citizens care about their fellow citizens and join together to take responsibility not just for themselves but for each other, for America as a union, a joint enterprise. The government's job was to carry out...

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Obama Defends Freedom of Religion: Be Not Afraid of Mitt Romney

(817) Comments | Posted August 10, 2012 | 10:14 PM

Do you believe in freedom of religion? President Obama does, and he is defending Americans' freedom of religion against Mitt Romney and Fox News in the administration of his health care bill.

The president allows each woman to decide for herself whether or not to ask her insurance company to...

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